Well, it certainly has been a while since I’ve written anything on here. Managing a blog takes time, of which I have been lacking lately. In the midst of buying a house and starting a new job, I have been sorely lacking in my motivation in writing.
However, the other problem has been Writers Block, also known as the fear that I have gone as far as I can in the story and all my aspirations are crumbling into dust and floating away in the wind. Writers Block can be fatal to a story, and sometimes it’s practically suicidal, writing yourself into a rock and a hardplace. Really, that is uncomfortable! (Picture from Tumblr)
Now how to get over that crushing realization that you’re never going to get out the place you’ve written yourself into? Or maybe your problem is you just don’t know what’s coming next. I’ve been there, I am there, and I will be there again! Every single person who has decided to write any story will come across this problem. The first thing you need to do is realize that you’re realization is WRONG. You can fix this. You made the problem up, you can concoct the solution.
“HOW?!” You scream at me. WELL I’LL TELL YOU! Just don’t yell. Geez.
Misery by Stephen King. Have you read it? You had better. Not only is it an amazing book that I’ve read probably a dozen times, but it hits the nail on the head on a HUGE problem we still see in story-telling today (movies, tv shows, books, comics etc). Sometimes they cheat. Yup, you heard me. They cheat. They show you, they tell you, under no uncertain circumstances your favorite character EVER has just kicked the bucket. Gone, fried, smashed, smushed, and all around splattered into nothingness. You saw it, you read it, you experienced it even.
And then, miraculously, they are alive the next episode or chapter. How? It was all just a dream, hallucination, time travel continuum, wormhole, alternate universe BS. Don’t you freaking hate that?! Yeah, me too. (That’s called a Cliffhanger Copout by the way)
Moving on! The two main characters in Misery is Paul Sheldon, an extremely successful writer who has published countless books in a series called Misery with the main heroine called Misery (yes there is irony there) and Annie Wilkes, a fanatical of the Misery books. Long story short, poor Paulie ends up in the not-so willing care of Annie Wilkes. When she reads the last book in his series and finds that Misery is dead she demands he find a way to bring her back to life and write a new book: Misery’s Return. Well, Paulie makes a poor choice and cheats to bring her back to life. He re-writes the ending of the last, already published book, so that Misery never dies in the first place. That is a BIG no-no. Annie doesn’t take too kindly to that and Paul is forced to think of a new way to bring her back to life.
How does he do that? He uses his knowledge and thinks outside the box a little. Misery is set in a time when being buried alive is a common occurrence that is feared by everyone. Many coffins were equipped with a string connected to a bell above ground. If you were to wake up buried alive just ring the bell and the cemetery guardian will come dig you up. And that is exactly what he used to save Misery in the end. Good on you, Paul! Now get out of there!!!
So next time you’re sitting there staring at you just wrote, like 10,000 words, and you’re just freaking loving it…and then it dawns on you that you have just written yourself in to the Cliffhanger Copout nightmare, don’t fret! Go do a little research about your time period. Read what other writers have done, free-write about anything you want, or go for a brisk walk and you’ll be surprised how quickly the solution comes to you. It’s probably staring you in the face right now and you don’t even know it yet.
Well, what are you still doing here? Go fix your story! And don’t forget to have fun.
Happy writing and thanks for reading!