This week, the YA Indie Carnival sponsors will be sharing techniques for persevering through writer's block. The condition dreaded by every author ever can happen at any time and in any place. When it begins crippling my progress and impacting the quality of the story, I do lots of unique things to make sure the story does not suffer a fatal blow. In every case so far, I've managed to break the barrier down, get my characters out of the hole I've painted them into, and move forward.
In order to make it through, there are a few things I do in order to prevent full-blown panic mode. I...
- start at the beginning of the story and read it.
- This grounds me and reminds me where I was going. Also, refocusing gives me a chance to see where the book's path began falling apart. Because I'm obsessive compulsive, I begin the editing process while I'm at it. That makes me feel like the use of my time is productive. If this doesn't work, I...
read someone else's book.
- When I read for this specific purpose, I begin a book I've already read so I can stop as soon as I break through the block. This is important because if I begin a new book, I won't stop until it's finished (breakthrough or not). If this does not work, I...
keep writing, knowing I may have to delete or update every word written.
- My most memorable scenes were written while I was enduring some powerful blocks, ones that made me question what I do and why I do it. After racking my brain for a few hours about where I am going with the story and which characters are going there with me, I stop and change gears all together and write some other part of the book. Leave that scene behind for awhile. I've come to realize that readers are very intuitive. They know when authors force a scene, and they are willing to tell everyone about the story's weaknesses. Inevitably, their comments will negatively impact sales, and it is not worth it. Take some time, walk away, and come back refreshed and ready to tackle the scene from a new perspective.
- Below, I've included the Prologue for Warriors of the Cross. It was written during one of my more frustrating blocks. At the time, I decided to regroup and concentrate on something new. Taking my mind off Allison's life, I decided to introduce a new character, one who would never be formally introduced in The Warrior Series. While I was writing about her, I decided to make her entrance as unforgettable as possible. By the time I finished with these few pages, I was back on target and ready to get to the business of writing Allison's story.
All peace and calm ended the second the patient presented to the emergency room. Julia was the on-call physician when he came in, and she knew it would be life changing.
“Please, I’m begging of you. Save my son,” the mother, Angela Demorte, wailed while desperately kissing Julia’s feet.
“God gave you the power to save people. My son, my only remaining child, needs you,” Angela pled through her body shaking sobs.
Do not save him. This is the boy of your dreams. If you do, he will kill your unborn baby and begin unstoppable events.
The prophetic voices echoing through Julia’s mind refused to be quieted. Believing every commanding word spoken, she knew better than to ignore the message. The impossible thing to overlook was the violent way the young boy was passing. He was just seconds from his death.
“I’m sorry, Ms. Demorte. I want to help you, but you have been misinformed. Your son is dying, and there is nothing I can do for him,” said Julia, stepping away from the boy and making sure to avoid even one ounce of skin-to-skin contact with him. She knew the second she touched him all options would vanish. She would not be able to walk away regardless of the ramifications.
With Julia’s lie and Devin’s final seizure, the baby in Julia’s stomach began to revolt.
Putting her hand over her belly and rubbing, Julia felt the outline of two arms and two feet rambunctiously striking from the inside. Her ability to hear her baby’s thoughts – read her emotions – meant she understood the infant was throwing a kicking-and-screaming fit.
Save him! Let me save him!
The baby begged in the same heart-wrenching manner of the boy’s mother.
Julia refused. Loving the baby unconditionally, she wanted to give in to the naive request…one made without regard for the consequences.
Without warning, Julia lost control of her body’s actions. Her feet moved in the opposite direction of the one she intended to go. As she reached for the unconscious and deathly grey Devin, her stomach’s hands protruded underneath the skin’s surface.
“NO! NO! NO!”
Julia screamed aloud. She was too afraid for her baby to care who heard her.
The infant disputed her decision and followed through with her plan to save the boy even if it meant death for both of them. With Julia as the median, the fetus reached out to touch Devin.
When she gripped his palm there was a surge of electricity comparable to the sustained shock of a Taser gun. Julia was unable to remove her hand from the source of her pain, Devin.
As if in a nightmare, she was powerless to prevent her baby from suffering the painful sear of the neuromuscular weakness.Regretting her failure as a mother and melting to the ground in a withering ball of agony, Julia lost consciousness.