Revision Update: Stuck in the Middle


Published April 26, 2013

overcoming writer's block - crumpled paper on ...

overcoming writer’s block – crumpled paper on wooden floor – crushed paper (Photo credit: photosteve101)

Well after starring at pages 100 to 106 of my novel Legacy for three days struggling to rewrite a scene that I never liked to begin with I’ve finally managed to make a decent go of it.  For a while there I just banged my head against a wall not making any progress what’s so ever.    On my first draft I just forced my way through writers block knowing that I could revisit it later. But now that I’m revising it can be a lot more challenging.

One area that I find myself getting stuck is with scenes or short arcs where I know how it begins and how ends but no idea how to get between them.  I had one such arc which I just finished rewriting where the characters are heading up river to the town of Hundred Orchards and but will ended up having to abandon their boat and infiltrating Marsh Crossing to retrieve their packs.

The first pass was dull it wasn’t engaging it got them from point A to point B but not in a satisfactory way, which is fine for the first draft and the whole reason that you need several rewrites to get your work into a polished state before its ready for anyone to read. The new scene has a chase through the swamp, an underwater battle with a ferocious beast, and the stealthy rapid killing of two guards.

Tips for when you get stuck between scenes:

  • Brainstorm Events
  • Clear your head
  • Take a break and write something else
  • Look for inspiration

Brainstorm Events

One of the first tricks I use is to just start jotting down ideas. I write down anything that comes to mind.  Scraps of dialog, interesting lines, events, it doesn’t matter.   Once I’ve got them down toss away any that don’t make sense and try and organize them into the series of bullets.  That way I have a flow to work with and I can crack on with writing the scene.

Clear Your Head

Sometimes you just need to take a break and step away from the computer for a while.  Go for a run, visit with friends, have a glass of wine and watch a film.  Just get away from writing for a day once you’ve had a chance to recover and rest you might find it easier to work through the blockage.

Take a Break and Write Something Else

It happens you spend so long working on a piece or starring at blank screen that you just get burnt out.  You need to recharge your creative energies by writing something new.  That why I do my inspiration Mondays it gives me a chance to just do something else and recharge my creativity

Look for Inspiration

A little inspiration can go along away when it comes to ideas.  Google images has a wealth of pictures that can spark your imagination.  Watching a movie of the same genre can give you an idea of what works and doesn’t.  And then there is listening to music I’ve written half a dozen short stories all inspired by different songs.

Hopefully those techniques will help you when you get stuck in the middle of an arc or scene.  What are some other approaches you use when you can’t figure out how to get where you are going with your writing?

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