I’ve been really stuck lately on my current work in progress. Like STUCK, stuck. I hit over the halfway mark, and I didn’t know what needed to happen next. So I worked on editing the first half. Searched Pinterest for more inspiration. Tried writing just whatever, scenes that weren’t interesting. Tried plotting an outline. I even created book covers for all five in the series, hoping it would get me going (it did give me plots for books three and four!). Worked on character development worksheets.
Etc., etc., etc. (said with Yul Brynner’s accent in “The King & I”.)
I had taken a brief hiatus from my French book sequel, and the prequel, because I had a dream about five cowboy ranching brothers, and they were clamoring for me to start writing their stories. I’d hoped to enter it in a contest last year, but didn’t finish in time. So with my Sullivans of Montana cowboy story, I wrote and wrote until I reached the point where the hero and heroine finally get together (you know what I mean).
Then I got stuck. In lava. Which hardened until I couldn't write.
I know how I want it to end (thanks to my critique partners!!), and even though the hero and heroine just spent a night together, it’s not going to be smooth sailing. So they were in limbo—and that limbo I left them in was not all hearts and flowers.
I finally chained myself in front of the computer last week, and stared at a blank white page, with the clock ticking a death knell. That white page really mocked me to the point it was just hateful. Just to get even with it, I typed CHAPTER TWELVE at the top of the page. “Take that, you blankety-blank page.”
I stared at the two words I’d written, the cursor blinking at me, and finally started writing from the heroine’s point of view. I got to a certain point and ALMOST head-hopped to the hero’s POV. Then I realized this chapter should be from HIS POV, so I saved the document and opened a new BLANK WHITE PAGE (oh, woe is me). But this time the words flowed better, and I ended up with 400 words (GO, ME!). It’s not a lot, but it’s more than I’ve written lately.
So if you ever hear anyone say “I should write a book. It won’t take me long, because writing is SOOOO easy,” smack ‘em upside the head. Writing is NOT easy. Except maybe if you’re Nora Roberts. <grin>
It’s hours of plotting, planning, pantsing even, torturing your characters, then rewriting and torturing some more. Because readers don’t want a boy meets girl, they fall in love, happy ever after. Where’s the payoff in that? Readers want a couple to have obstacles to overcome, right? Real life is messy and complicated, so fictional characters should share some of that, THEN get the hearts and flowers happy ever after.
If you’re an author, what do you do when NOTHING is working and you’re stuck like glue…or mired in quicksand?
Readers, do you want the complications before the big payoff?