Friday, July 8, 2011

When Your Story Sags, Kill Someone

This is so true. Lately, I have been experiencing what I lovingly call "a writer's funk". Nothing is sounding right. Everything that I write seems hopelessly lacking and it's these times when I think, should I bother being a writer at all?

Sometimes I feel this way when I read something amazing and subsequently convince myself that my books will never be of the same caliber. Sometimes this funk is a result of comments from others that come way out of left field making me feel like I have been delusional all this time believing I was on to something good. And sometimes it's because I am stuck. My plot sags, my vocabulary reservoir has dried up and I am at a loss of what to do.

What can you do? Kill someone off. Nothing revives a plot, a sense of danger and intrigue like the piling up of bodies. Now mind you, it must make sense, and there is usually some ground work that must be done to set up the death but as a technique to get the creative juices flowing, it really does work.

I am currently in 'the meddlesome middle'. I'm 40,000 words in and know exactly where my end is, but how do I get there and not loose readers to boredom? I started to think about my cast of characters and which one is least important this far in to the story? Who is the next on the bottom tier? Eventually I found the perfect character to kill off, and one readers would not be expecting. An excellent twist with perfect timing, just when my protagonist feels he has a handle on the situation.

Not only has this dramatic change revived my plot but it's also revived my writing. I have written over 4,000 words in the last 24 hours (intermittently) and I now feel my plot is on track to keep readers turning the page. An excellent solution if I do say so myself. Good show, Watson, good show!

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