Wednesday, October 25, 2017

When the Words Don't Come...AKA Writer's Block by Mary Ellis

Every writer has wrestled for hours when they can’t string seven words together into a concise sentence. We doubt ourselves, our mentors, the process we thought we’d perfected, even the quality of beans that went into our cup of java. It happens to the best of us. There is no one-size-fits-all solution since writers are as different as that shade of navy you’re trying to match. I can only give you my humble opinion to tuck into your first aid kit on possible cures.
When the words won’t come I see two possible reasons, both of which involve turning off and moving away from your computer. How many times have we fallen asleep in our easy chairs, but tossed-and-turned in bed for hours? If you get out of bed and put the TV back on, you’ll doze off by the next commercial. Same is true about trying to force creativity in front of your laptop. Once you are seated in a lawn chair or a booth at the coffee shop, consider the first reason your well is dry: You need more story. This happens more often for seat-of-the-pants writers than plotters, but even plotters can reach a lull when the action or romantic drama needs help from a subplot to thicken the stew. Ask yourself: What can come along to blindside your characters? What’s the worst thing they fear? Make it happen. Often writers concoct a thrilling opening and know exactly how to bring their story to a tasty conclusion. They might even have some plot twists in mind, but in long novels, not even the most devout “plotter” can pre-conceive enough scenes to keep the pace moving. Go where it’s quiet, where you can roll your eyes back into your head. Suddenly story ideas will flow faster than you can jot down on your Starbucks napkin.
The second problem we sometimes experience is the haven’t-I-said-all-this-before-syndrome. We’ve got our story; we’ve got our multi-dimensional characters. But we’re trotting out the same old metaphors and tired verbs. It’s time to get away to someone else’s creative work that’s not in the genre you write. Read a book by a writer whose work you admire to see how they craft a story. No time to read a full novel? Go to a movie, again one with a screenplay by someone you love. Sit back, sip your soda, munch your popcorn and enjoy. I’ve been known to utter things like: What a delightful black moment, much to my husband’s dismay. The key is getting away from yourself. Then when you return to your work-in-progress, the well will be primed with fresh creative waters.

Mary Ellis has just finished Hiding in Plain Sight, first of a new series, Marked for Retribution Mysteries, set in Charleston, South Carolina. When a roving PI rents a room above an Italian restaurant run by a handsome chef, she lands in the middle of a family feud with robbery, arson and murder as the daily specials. Hiding in Plain Sight will release in 2018. Mary can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net

Please leave Mary a comment to be entered in a drawing for a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate. US and Canada only. If you don't leave your email address you cannot win. Good Luck!! 

20 comments:

  1. Such good points! I always try my best to pray for Authors when I know they are struggling this way. My email is : misslissa1984@hotmail.com. Thanks for the chance to win! :)

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    1. Hi Melissa! Thanks for leaving me a comment to my post. I have drawn your name for the 25.00 Amazon gift certificate. Thanks for being a reader of Suspense Sisters. And I will contact you via email for your address. God Bless you.

      Delete
  2. I can't write anything, so I'm very thankful for authors like you that keep writing so I can relax and enjoy reading!!! lhanberry1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. Thank you for sharing about writers block. I am very excited to read Hiding in Plain Sight. Keep up the wonderful writing Mary Ellis.

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  4. I have no idea how you authors do it. Definitely a God-given talent.
    debsbunch777(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. I’m a reader , not a writer and I so admire someone who can write stories. Thanks for the post! I’m having trouble posting from my google account so that’s why I’m anonymous! Paula. paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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    1. Paula, I'm having the same trouble with Google! What's up with that??

      Gail Hollingsworth

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  6. I can't write very well, although I started writing a book in my teens that was about my life growing up with six brothers. I was the only girl out of the whole bunch!

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  7. I can't write worth anything. Although, I start a writing a book in my teens about my life living with six brothers. I was the only girl in the bunch!
    duellonlysis(at(aol(dot)com

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  8. I love to read and am amazed at the talent that comes from writers. I can only imagine writers block because I only receive the finished product.
    Gail Hollingsworth
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. Most of the time when I hit the wall, it's because I don't know my characters' goals and motivation well enough. Great post.

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  10. when I was younger I would write poems. Just recently I thought about writing a book for pre schoolers. Don’t know if I ever will but I hsve jotted ideas about the book down.
    jhdwayne(at)peoplepc(dot)com

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  11. when I was younger I would write poems. Just recently I thought about writing a book for pre schoolers. Don’t know if I ever will but I hsve jotted ideas about the book down.
    jhdwayne(at)peoplepc(dot)com

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  12. Thanks for the post! I'm not a writer and can't imagine the angst of a weiter's block....but am so thankful that you have ways to get over it so we the readers can enjoy your fantastic creations. Can't wait to read your next book.

    mindyhoungATmsnDOTcom

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  13. Mary, you have offered some great tips for authors and we readers can profit also. Thanks for all of the enjoyed books you've given us.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950@gmail.com

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  14. Mary, thank you for sharing! I loved your Secrets of the South series. I'm looking forward to reading Hiding in Plain Sight.

    Blessings,
    Caryl
    psalm103and138atgmaildotcom

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  15. I really admire writers. I'm always amazed how you come up with the ideas for your books. I really like the sound of "Hiding in Plain Sight", especially since it's set in Charleston SC. Looking forward to reading the book when it's released.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  16. I really admire writers. I'm always amazed how you come up with the ideas for your books. I really like the sound of "Hiding in Plain Sight", especially since it's set in Charleston SC. Looking forward to reading the book when it's released.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. Thanks to everyone who left me a comment. And what great comments they were. I drew a name from the hat to win the 25.00 gift certificate and it's Melissa Smith.
    Melissa, I will be contacting you via email. Thanks again, everyone.

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