W – Writer’s Block

WAh, Writer’s Block. That scourge of writers the world over. I suppose. Is it though? What are some of the elements of Writer’s Block?

For me, the very first and major hurdle of Writer’s Block is how to start. I, like many writers I imagine, have a number of stories mapped out in my head, notes hidden around in margins, on smart phones, tablets, writing programs. When do you know enough? About your characters, your setting? Do you understand it all? Have you read enough to know that no one else has already written your story? And how do you hook your readers?

This is a hard wall to get past, for sure. As best I understand, at some point you just have to start. For me, that’s still a work in progress.

Once you’re going, maybe you started too soon! Oh no, how do you resolve this part? Describe this scene? How do you convey to your readers exactly what you feel when you think about it? Or maybe you know time needs to pass, but don’t know what might happen between where you’re coming from and where you’re going. Maybe you need to give another character some time in the sun, but aren’t sure what to have happen.

Or maybe Writer’s Block is just your excuse – your excuse for having a life, for letting time get away from you, for not being as diligent in writing as you feel like you ought to be. Because while the largest category is likely the books never written, there is still very likely a very large selection of books started but unfinished. It’s an easy trap to fall into. It’s life.

And then there’s towards the end, you have a written story! But you’re editing. Thinking it through, revising. Have you developed your voice enough? Have you used good language to convey your points and story? And is it something unique, something that hasn’t been written before? Is it something new under the sun?

At some point you have to let it go, have to decide it’s good enough. Not everyone can be J.K. Rowling or George Lucas and edit their works after they’re already published. But before you reach that point, you can likely hit the hardest road blocks, the most doubt: is it good enough? Will anyone, in their right mind – or at least the mind they bring to the table on the day they’re making the decision – publish it? Would you even self-publish it yourself? As you might be your hardest critic, after all.

I can see a lot of things we might mean by Writer’s Block. Once I get going, in a single session, I tend not to stop when writing – I tend to flow. For me, the trouble is getting started, is having the time, is taking the time. How about you? Any Writer’s Block stories or tips to share? Venture forth to the comments below! Can’t think of what to comment about? Writer’s Block strikes again!

V – Voice

VOne of the most important things in writing – because it is one of the most unique things you have access to as a writer – is your writer’s voice. After all,

There is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

I was surprised when I found out this was a quote from the Bible, actually, because for one thing, it doesn’t seem to fit, and for another thing, that was a long time ago for people to already be believing that there were no new stories or ideas! Yet that same mentality exists today, in full force: there are no new stories.

I’m not here to argue that point. Well, I’d be happy to in the comments. My point, though, is that if there is nothing new under the sun – if your readers, by applying their life experiences (which include any number of books and movies and other stories) find references and analogies between your writing and stories and something someone else has written, well… you’re likely just like every other writer ever! Even if you did not mean a similarity – even if you had never experienced it before – it can still happen. And probably does. All the time. Like, maybe, all the times.

But that just brings us back to Voice – it is how you write that will distinguish your work from someone else’s, no matter how similar or different. It shows the difference in how you understand things. It is also the sort of thing that will bring readers back to your works – enjoying how you write, they might try something they would not otherwise read, just because you wrote it.

Whose writer’s Voice do you like? One of my very favorites is Peter David – his humor, his pacing, his character. He has done a lot of work in existing universes – comics, Star Trek, movie novelizations, things like that. However, I’ve found his work in these fields surpasses others, because of how he writes it. I gave a number of examples in the post linked above… since then, I have tried out the Marvel comic A+X, where they do two ten-page stories, with no continuity, no relation to each other or another story, and by a wide variety of writers and artists. And of those, the ones by Peter David might be my favorites. They stood out to me. They were great. Also, this is a fun comic if you want to check out different writers and illustrators and see who you might like!

I should add also that it’s been over a year since that post, and since then Peter David is doing much better, and is back to writing 🙂

I asked a question and then answered it, but let me ask again: whose writer’s voice do you like? Who would you hunt down to read, who do you buy a ton of? And I guess… are all these questions the same thing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

And if you haven’t read any Ecclesiastes, I highly recommend it. Likely not what you are expecting.

 

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