Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Beating the Blank Screen by Beating the Keyboard (NaNoWriMo November 12th)

Today may be Hump Day in the week's pattern, but I'm still not over the hump in my writing. When the story bogs down and the characters stand around and exchange inanities with each other, how do you get yourself over the hump?

I won't use the W-B phrase, but the truth is, the process of writing isn't far from the creative demands of brain-storming, in which the participants shout out whatever comes to mind, and nothing is too ridiculous to write down. After the brain-storm is over, something on the board will emerge as useful or do-able. 

"The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away," said Linus Pauling. Notice the sequence. First you get the ideas, then you winnow them for quality.

Same thing with writing a novel. Write it, write some more, and write a little more. Let the characters blather on about a TV program they watched last night. Let your main guy search for his car keys and turn over everything on his desk as he does it. Have the second lead's child tell a lisping story of what happened at school today. Something in that stream will emerge as useful story, I promise.

Don't acknowledge the block, write over it. Leave the winnowing for December.

Now it's time for me to follow my own advice...

Total: 20,611 words