Missy, here. And I'm so happy to welcome my friend and fellow Love Inspired author, Sandra Orchard, who writes for Love Inspired Suspense. Today, I'd love to give away a copy of her debut release, Deep Cover, in e-book for Kindle. Just leave a comment letting me know to enter you in the drawing. And now...Sandra!
Do you remember those first days, weeks, years of writing fiction when the stories flowed unhindered from your pen, or keyboard?
Then…you learned about character arcs and pacing and rules, and voila, suddenly, you’ve got Writer’s Block. You realize the story isn’t working the way it’s supposed to, but you don’t know how to fix it.
Let’s stop here for a second and celebrate how far you’ve come in your writing. That is, you now recognize that meandering plot or episodic scenes or cardboard characters. Progress, yeah!
But what now?
I face writer’s block halfway through almost every book I write. I usually have the story well outlined before I start, but somewhere along the way, the characters lead me astray, and I blithely follow…only to find I’ve written myself into a corner.
Today, I’ll share three methods I’ve found helpful in breaking through writer’s block when stomping around the house, ranting about unruly characters and devouring chocolate—God’s most story-inspiring food group—doesn’t work.
1) Get together with a couple of writing buddies and talk out your story, what’s working, what’s not. More often than not, one of my writing buddies will spot the problem and we’re able to brainstorm fixes. Admittedly, the fixes are never as easy to write as they make it sound, because first I have to divorce myself from what I’ve already written. But it is precisely because my friends aren’t married to my writing that they gave a clearer perspective.
2) Since most of us aren’t fortunate enough to have writing buddies at our beck and call, here’s a trick I picked up from Story Weaver to kick start your creativity. Jot down three nonsense words. Don’t think about it. Just write the first words that come to mind. Then imagine that all three words are part of the same phrase and come up with as many different ideas as you can to explain the phrase. Now try to integrate those ideas into a single story concept. Don’t worry if you can’t, the purpose of the exercise is to break free of Writer’s Block by shifting out of a forced creative mode into analysis mode. Ironically, I found the opposite was what worked for me (i.e. the creative mode of coming up with ideas that made sense of the nonsense words).
Here’s what I did: I chose dog, black, and gun as my nonsense words. I came up with a half dozen creative explanations, not expecting to use them in my story, but by the end I’d created an entire opening scene for my next book. Someone in a black car pulls up to where the heroine is walking her sister’s dog and shoots at her. There’s a lot more to it than that, but the kernel of the inciting incident came from doing the silly exercise, so now I’m sold on this exercise. If it doesn’t work for you, try…
3) Skip ahead to a scene you know how to write and write it. Oftentimes the bridging scenes to get there will reveal themselves as you write this later scene.
When all else fails, do something else. The solutions to story problems often come when you give your mind time to work on them subconsciously. But don’t stay away from your novel too long or you’ll never finish it.
How about you? What tricks have you found helpful in overcoming writer’s block?
Other stuff you might want to know:
Sandra Orchard lives in rural Ontario, Canada where inspiration abounds for her romantic suspense novels set in the fictional Niagara town she's created as their backdrop. Married with three grown children, when not writing, she enjoys hanging out with family, brainstorming new stories with fellow writers, and hiking or kayaking in God's beautiful creation. Her debut Love Inspired Suspense Deep Cover is now in stores. Or buy at http://bit.ly/DeepCover
Maintaining his cover cost undercover cop Rick Gray the woman he loved. Sweet Ginny Bryson never really knew Rick. He never gave her the chance. Not then, and not now, when he's back with a new alias to gather evidence against Ginny's uncle. The man's crimes led to Rick's partner's death, and Rick wants justice to be served. But his investigation is stirring up trouble, and Ginny is smack-dab in the middle. Someone wants Ginny to pay the price for what her uncle has done. But how can Rick protect her without blowing his cover, jeopardizing his assignment...and risking both their lives?
Deep Cover is the first book in the series, Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line.
Book 2 ~ Shades of Truth ~ March 2012
A compassionate youth worker fighting to preserve her dying father’s legacy battles the justice-driven detective who threatens her mission and her heart.
Book 3 ~ Dose of Deception ~ TBA (title tentative)
A nurse. An undercover cop. A killer who’ll stop at nothing to avoid being caught.
Connect with Sandra Online:
Visit her website ~ www.SandraOrchard.com
Visit her personal blog ~ http://www.SandraOrchard.blogspot.com
Like her Facebook Page ~ www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard
Subscribe to her newsletter ~ http://bit.ly/OrchardNews