Break the Block – Part One
God’s will. Fate. Karma. There are many words for it, but what it all boils down to is destiny or, our futures. Our futures may or may not be already written, but either way, we don’t know what’s in store for us. We have to take it one day at a time, wake up in the morning and get out of bed to find out what each day is going to bring for us.
Writing is often like that. We like to think we’re in control of our characters and their futures, that we know where the story is going, but that’s not always true. We can outline and plan every detail in our heads, but outlining and thoughts are not stone. They can change. Characters misbehave or run in the opposite direction that we want them to. Sometimes we know there’s a story we want to tell (an idea forms) but our characters refuse to talk to us (can’t expand on idea). This is often referred to as “getting stuck”, “writer’s block” or being “stalled”.
One way to break that block is to just write, or type (whichever is your preferred MO) anything. Often an idea will only form so far in your head but simply getting it down on paper or computer gets the creative juices flowing. At this point, it doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you’re writing. Edits and revisions come later. Sometimes just writing what you know in point form works:
- character A = Alien
- character B = Human
- A & B meet
- A & B fall in love/are repulsed by each other/want to dissect one another
Don’t know anything more? It’s time to start asking questions. A wants to dissect B. B refuses. Obviously. Or maybe not. Who knows what kind of twisted characters you have in your story. How does B stop A or, why does B want this to happen? How does A react? What is the purpose for this dissection?
This obviously could make for an interesting, out-of-the box story. But what kinds of questions do you ask for more mainstream stories? The kind that require answers of course. If you want to know an unknown, just ask yourself. You might be surprised at the answer.
Why are A & B in love? Not just because that’s how they feel. Something has made them feel this way. What? Why are they attracted to one another? This could depend on your genre. Maybe A is an octopus-like alien and B has an arm fetish. Maybe A looks like Paul Walker/Vin Diesal in The Fast and The Furious and B has a blond/bald fetish.
So, keep asking questions. Your answers will lead to more questions, and hopefully more answers, and before you know it, you’ll have a completed story.