Sunday, June 5, 2011

Working At It

There are many writers out there who hardly seem to struggle with plotting, structure, characterization and dialogue. People like JK Rowling, Jodi Picoult and Nora Roberts, who churn out bestsellers almost right out of the gate.

A while ago I asked my friend and bestselling romantic suspense and YA author, Roxanne St. Claire if she knew of any good books that dealt with plotting. She replied that she didn't. For her, plots unfold organically.

Well, I'm not one of those what I call born writers. I am continually working on my craft, struggling to make each element better and better. And sure, the evidence is clear that my writing has improved, especially when I look back at my earliest works. But right now I am struggling with my WIP and I fear I'm losing!

So what's a writer to do? I stopped work on the manuscript and decided to devote at least a week to rereading the books that have helped me so much in the past -- Deb Dixon's Goal, Motivation and Conflict, Dwight Swain's Techniques of the Selling Writer as well as handouts and notes from the gazillion classes and workshops I've attended. I'll pull out my RWR magazines and mine the very best articles. And at the end of the week, I will get back on track.

What about you? Do you ever have to stop and regroup? What do you do when you get stuck on a manuscript?


Kaylea Cross said...

Wynter, you are not alone!!! I'm there with you right now. Wanna hold hands?
Roxanne St. Claire is such a pro, and she's been very sweet to me. One of my books finaled along with hers in the Nat'l Readers Choice Awards, and she even sent me a note to say congrats. How nice is that, since she doesn't even know me?
For me, when I get stuck, the best thing I can do is take a break for a couple days, and then use a soundtrack while I write. I envision a scene like I'm watching a movie (the music helps), and then I try to get it down on the page.
If all else fails, I have a few people I can count on to help crack the whip and get me working again. I know you can do it!

Wynter Daniels said...

Aw, thanks. Just finished making scene cards that list the goal, conflict, etc for each scene. I think that'll put me back on track. May need some hand holding, though;-) Thanks.

Michelle Polaris said...

Talking through plot points with a good writing friend is invaluable. It's a reality check. I usually have to assess whether the plot has enough tension or does not make my characters TSTL. I agree you're not alone Wynter. Keep at it. It'll come.

Wynter Daniels said...

Thanks, Michelle. That's true - crit partners and writing buds are invaluable to help move past the block.

Jina Bacarr said...

I agree with Kaylea, Wynter--taking a break from the writing can really help--"let the wells fill up again"--as they say.

Also, dig deeper into your research--you may find something "new" that will turn your plot in a different direction!

You're not alone out there...I've been living on a sinking ship for weeks (Titanic), trying to get my characters into lifeboats or not. Writing is hard work...but there's nothing else like "having written," so keep going! We're here to support you.

Wynter Daniels said...

Thanks for that, Jina. I hope you rescue yours, too. It is hard work, for sure.

Dalton Diaz said...

You are definitely not alone! Going back to reading my faves is also what works for me, along with being around my crit group. There's nothing quite like being in a group of 6 women who speak the same language.