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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Spending the Day with Writer’s Block

I’m suffering from a serious case of writer’s block today but I still have to fill my time at my desk, so I’ve decided to pontificate on life, the universe, and everything.

Just kidding.

Except not about the writer’s block thing.

There’s a reason why I bounce between writing light contemporary romance and heavier fantasy. My brain needs the break.

Don’t get me wrong. Both are really hard work. In some ways the romances are harder because I have to pack so much information into a tiny little package. I also probably think more about reader expectations when I write contemporary romances. They don’t take as much research, however. They don’t require the level of detail that my fantasies do. That means the headaches they cause me aren’t quite as severe.

The story I’m currently working on is giving me a serious headache because it has three worlds I have to build, although I’m cheating a little on one of them. I’m basing it on a futuristic Earth and calling it “Third World.” Because I’m creative like that.

This story also has five characters with viewpoints, two of whom are antagonists. The antagonists have a similar agenda but they aren’t on the same team. Apparently real antagonists don’t have a lot of friends or form meaningful relationships, they just walk around being antagonistic all day. Not much wonder no one likes them.

Of those five characters, two of them are living on borrowed time. I also have plans for one of the others that s/he doesn’t know about yet.

I’m fairly certain the reason for the writer’s block is that I’m slowly approaching a turning point in the story. Turning points are tricky. They have to be properly motivated. Everyone has to make a life-altering decision and head off in a different direction. But all of those different directions have to meet up again at the next major turning point. That’s another reason why having five main characters from three worlds is giving me a headache.

And don’t get me started on the level of detail involved. The scene that currently has me stumped is a dinner scene that takes place after a particularly bloody execution. There’s about to be a political discussion and maybe a little authorial foreshadowing of things to come.  Both of those things are incredibly boring to read if they aren’t written well. They need world detail, but not too much. There’s got to be dialogue, but no talking heads – the reader has to be able to figure out who’s doing the talking. In a roomful of people, I’ve got to narrow the field and focus on no more than three at a time.

I’m feeling the pressure.  I also might have picked the wrong week to switch to decaf.

Anyway, there’s about to be an act of rebellion—several in fact, if we count the little things—that will start a civil war. That civil war will have the potential to wipe out three worlds.

Wish me luck.