JIM BLOW’S TRIP TO THE DANGER ZONE: Writer’s Block uncovered!
You may notice that WRITER'S BLOCK is a plague. It attacks writers day in and day out.
Although I haven't solved this problem, I came up with a graph to show it.
Maybe someone else will discover my work, and carry it on to something better.
When you start a story, you want to start with as wide a base as possible. Imagine there are two lines. The more space between the lines, the better. The amount of room between the lines represents the number of possibilities. The more you reveal, the less room between your lines. As more is revealed, limits are set on your story. As more and more plot occurs, less and less other things can happen.
Example: You start a story. The base is enormous, so anything can happen. Then you reveal the characters. It is a story about secret agents. The base begins to close up. Magic and things like that are now not possible. It is placed on the outside of your base. Here are two lines.
LINE 1 (wide base) --It was a dark and stormy night. (See, anything can happen from here. This is a very wide base.)
LINE 2 (small base) --The elves kept to themselves, they couldn’t allow the wizards to find them. (See how this is a smaller base? Limitations are set, and things are revealed. Though the base is still pretty big, it is smaller than the base in LINE 1.)
Eventually you’ll have revealed so much that the two lines representing the two sides of your original base now touch. When the two lines touch, several things can happen.
- WRITER’S BLOCK--You have so many limits, there are only few things you can do. When there are only a number of options, you don’t always discover one. Thus the story is deserted. An awful circumstance. 90% of writers leave one or more stories deserted due to this awful plague.
- DISCOVERY--One of the very few options are discovered, so a line shoots out from the touching point. The writer can walk this line. The line of few solutions. The writer must be careful. If even one wrong word is written, the writer will fall off the line, and eaten by category 1. Category 2 stories are often lacking because the author had put himself in a corner so to speak.
- ANXIETY--The writer will hit the touching point and freak out. They may go back through the story and change things, in a futile attempt to widen their base, and avoid the touching point. Or the writer will hit the point and freak out, ending the story abruptly, and in a lame way. In rare cases the writer will even have a heart attack.
- CHEAT--The writer may get confused, not sure what to do, and step outside the line. If the writer is writing about secret agents, and comes to the touching point Climax, they may abandon hope and suddenly a wizard will appear and help. The wizard exists outside the lines, and the author just ruined the book unknowingly.
- SUDDEN DEATH--The writer will freak out and a natural/unnatural disaster will kill everybody. This can happen due to category three or due to a sudden homicidal feeling in the writer. If written correctly category 5 can actually end up all right.
- GOLDEN--This happens in extremely rare cases. An author will put himself in a corner, or simply not know what to do next, then suddenly have an epiphany. The writer will find a million dollars in the corner he’s trapped himself in, and an escape from the corner in a limo, riding off to the sunset to stay in a mansion on the coast of Italy... The writer optimistically finds a solution to Writer’s Block, and it’s so perfect.
- LOOSE ENDS--To avoid that tragic Touching Point in the graph, some people try to escape it. When a writer ends the story before the Touching Point, then that means there are loose ends, and other unsolved problems. If there is a sequel, these unsolved problems are okay.
TOUCHING POINT--The Touching Point should occur at the very end. Everything’s wrapped up neatly, and it all works out. However when the Touching Point occurs earlier, it’s more of a problem. The ideal spots in a story for the Touching Point are The End, The Climax, or in rare cases, The Beginning can be a great Touching Point.
Solutions to overcome Writer’s Block. (These don’t always work, and they probably won’t all help. But find one that works for you, or come up with your own.) Each of these work for me, some more than others, so I hope they help you too. Since I’ve tried all these, you might think I have problems...a little bit, yes.
- BATHROOM--Although this sounds weird, it isn’t. This is the one that helps me most. Just being in the bathroom and staring at the textures of the wall and floor gives me the most absurd (yet helpful) ideas ever!
- WALK--Hey you! Go for a run. Clear your mind. Nobody likes to run. Not intentionally at least. However, it can help. I don’t particularly like runs, so instead I pace around the house. People think it’s weird, and you may end up with a psychiatrist, but at least you could get out of Writer’s Block! Plus the psychiatrist could give you ideas, especially by analyzing your dreams and putting new crazy things in your head. Because there aren’t enough crazy ideas there already… Pacing helps me to clear my mind, and it doesn’t feel like I’m having to go for a run. Try it!
- ACTING--Although it can be embarrassing, and you may never hear the end of it, it too can work for you! (And not just because it rhymed). Acting is where you take what has happened in the story thus far, and go act it out. (Yes, you can dress up). Once you’ve acted out everything up to where you had Writer’s Block, you may find yourself still playing. That’s good! Keep track of what you do while playing after you’ve passed that point in the story. Then write what happened into the story. Congrats, you just got passed Writer’s Block!
- PLAGIARISM--No, this doesn’t mean you should copy somebody else’s idea or something. This is where you watch a movie or read a book. Something that happens in either of these cases may inspire an idea. Hard work, huh?
RE-Extension: Can the graph be reopened? The answer is Yes. If the graph is close to the Touching Point, you can open it back up. The way to open it back up is by introducing a new character, plot twists, etc. Re-extending your graph may sound swell, but you’ll hit the Touching Point eventually. All Re-extension will do is prolong the inevitable.
Star (Story’s end) is reached. Writer’s *
Block is overcome. I
I Author chooses category 2
I Author hits Writer’s Block
I I Climax approaches.
Hero escapes. I I
Hero is captured. I I
I More is revealed I
I Slowly the plot thickens I
I The wizard’s evil. I
I Now we reveal that there is a wizard that makes it so it’s always sunny. I
I not much happens I
I For a Wide Base, lets start with this sentence: It was sunny outside. I