Oh, the joy of writing
As I assume many of my readers are writers, I know they will understand when I say that there are times when the words just get stuck.
Some call it writer’s block, but really it’s just a moment in a story when the ideas dry up or you feel that the story is drifting.
While there is a vast depository of information and ideas on this topic, I didn’t think it should dissuade me from offering my own little helpful tips to keep the joy of writing alive.
When these wordless moments hit me, I resort to some of the following tactics to help me get going again. They usually work.
Make a sudden noise
A loud explosion, a door slamming or something smashing against a wall just near the protagonist’s head. This one always gets me underway again and at the same time adds a nice element of surprise in the story.
What would my character just hate to happen right now?
An email from an angry ex-spouse or a demand for payment from the bailiff. The onset of a nasty head cold just before the wedding day. A secret affair is not a secret anymore. What about choking on a fish bone in the middle of a romantic dinner for two?
Open a door or drawer
This is an oldie but a goodie. You just never know what you’ll find hiding in there.
Leave it hanging
This usually means extensive use of the delete key. Go back a few paragraphs and stop the chapter as something is about to happen. ‘She opened the drawer and couldn’t believe her eyes.’
Stop it there and start a new chapter about her next door neighbour’s gay son.
But don’t forget Chekhov’s gun. Make sure you come back to the drawer.
Trip over something
Another oldie, but it never fails. Just get your character moving and ‘kerplonk’! Break a leg, arm or even better open a gaping wound and let the blood flow freely.
Start an argument
This is a brilliant way to get the dialogue going and moving the story along at a pace. Lots of screaming and yelling, expletives and throwing of coffee mugs.
So what are your favourite writing prompts to get you moving again?