Monday, February 28, 2011

Pushing through the block

First, sorry for the delay in posts. I had family over for an extended trip, which basically meant no blogging, no writing, and a disaster for a house!

I mentioned last week (or maybe the week before…hmm…my days are mixing together) that I was ¾ into my WIP and slammed to a halt. I bought a plotting book—checked out 3 more from the library—and at the end of the day knew more about plot, but was no closer to breaking through the wall.

So this is how I pushed through, and as it worked I thought I would share.
  1. Write out a plot paragraph for your entire novel, including the ending.

  2. Read through what you have already written—meaning the MS. Make/add notes anywhere the plot drifts from that plot paragraph.

  3. Once you reach the point where you are stuck, push through a page or two, keeping with the plot paragraph, and writing “as if” you have already fixed the earlier plot issues.

  4. Give yourself plot points for the rest of the MS. Detail the reversal, climax, and ending.

  5. Smile at yourself when you crank out 14 pages in one day!! Yes I did!

I am so relieved I could scream in excitement. I hoped to have the draft complete by today, but with the delay that won’t happen. I should have it complete in a week from today though! Come back to celebrate with me next Monday.

Now tell me, how do you push through?



  1. I wondered what had happened since you told me about your blog and then *poof* no posts. Don't you hate how you get the house all neat for company, then it's a wreck as soon as they walk in the door and stays that way for the duration (and long after in my case!) their visit? :)

    Glad you found your way! I'm not sure I have a good method for writer's block specifically, but I often take out a good book and try to analyze it for plot points.

  2. Hey Erin! Glad to hear from you. Yes! It amazes me the level of cleaning we do *prior* to guests arriving, just to have the house trashed after. :) And I analyze books as well. I love dissecting scenes of books I love, especially Hunger Games.

  3. That's a great feeling, getting through plot problems. Sometimes I have to just lock myself into a room and just think with no distractions. I get some good ideas that way!

  4. Yay! I can only imagine how relieved you are. I have to say, the plot paragraph for the entire novel really seems to work! I wasn't as far into my re-writes as you were with TR, but it's really helped my momentum for sure. Can't wait til next Monday :-D

  5. I hate it when I get stuck like that! It sounds like you've developed some great strategies for getting through it.

  6. That's great that you found a way to push through.

    For me, I usually take the punk approach and write around what keeps me blocked. I usually find my way back there later. :)

  7. Lydia - lockdown is a great idea, though I can see my toddler banging on the door already! :)

    Laura - I can't wait to send you the full version of TR!

    Andrea - Yes, I can't stand when I get stuck and no amount of planning helps me stay clear of blocks.

    Karen - I tried so hard to write through the problem. I ended up writing (and trashing) 5 chapters. It's so interesting how differently we work to get to the same conclusion! :)

  8. I'm a huge planner. I write a long summary of the entire manuscript and then break it into chapter summaries before I start my first draft. I do this because I'm terrified of staring at a blank screen. I find that by doing all this planning up front, I cut down on writer's block. Yes, on occasion I do stray from what I thought would happen. Characters have minds of their own and sometimes go in directions we weren't planning, but then I go back to my chapter summaries and adjust them before I keep writing.

    I actually just blogged this morning about how I plan my manuscripts. Here's the url if you are interested,

  9. Kelly - I half plan. I need the freedom to go where I choose, but I must have a blueprint in place else I go crazy. I'm hoping over to your post now. :)