Saturday, August 13, 2016
How to beat a writing block with a common film technique
So today, a glorious day, in the writing of the fourth Boss MacTavin mystery, I found myself suddenly blocked. An odd time to be blocked, now that I was nearing the home stretch. A little more detective work, loose ends to tie up, then a terrific action scene in a forsaken alley.
And yet today in the Writer Room of the central library I stared and stared at the naked page. Major inconsistencies in the tale tormented me: how could the main villain not have seen through Boss's ingenious disguise if two other villains, now dead, had been aware of it? Etc. That sort of thing. I couldn't see how to resolve this and moving forward seemed impossible.
What the hell was I to do, go days or weeks without writing when I'd written over 50,000 words?
Better writers than I am have written of this. And I took heart from Stephen King:
Still, I had to slug my way free my own way. And my mind turned to how some great movies are shot: entirely out of sequence. Scenes are shot when certain actors are available...or when a location permit is obtained...or when the weather is right.
So, while I wait for 'the weather' to improve on the novel's next scene, I can move on to the ending, which is fairly clear in my mind. At least the big brawl in the alley. That scene may help fill in much of the blank space preceding. If, I'll finish what I can, then begin the second draft, with hopes the inconsistencies resolve themselves as I go.
The worst thing, as I see it now, is to sit and brood and do nothing. Keep going, preserve the momentum--and keep the cameras rolling!