Friday, 22 January 2016

Writer's Block Buster: 'Play-date' with my heroine brings fresh insights and inspiration

You know the classic cartoon meme of the hapless character who runs off the cliff, but only falls when he looks down, causing suspended gravity to kick in, splattering him on the canyon floor?

Do you ever get to a point in your first draft when, like that character, you're running along at breakneck speed, creating your fiction with blissful abandon? Then, two thirds of the way through, as the plot becomes ever more clear to you, you grind to a halt, over-analyzing and second guessing yourself ? You itch to edit edit edit, change course, look down, and suddenly you're stymied and blocked, lying splattered with bruised wings on the canyon floor?

That's what happened to me last week while scooting gleefully through the first draft of my second novel "Kittiwake and Cloudhover." My feisty heroine Thirza and my wildlife whispering hero Bram from "Goatsucker Harvest" find themselves hurtling towards the dizzying cliffs of Flamborough on the Holderness Coast, summer 1856. Suddenly, I found myself temporarily stuck in the wet sand, caught in a bind between my writing and editing brains.

So, I was inspired to try to find my own solution. Maybe you'll find this approach helpful, too. Maybe you have your own self-restart buttons to press? I'd love to hear about them!

I let myself skip off for a quick off-piste "play date" with my heroine, letting Thirza tell me, in her own inimitable voice, how she saw the plot, the other characters, from start to finish.

It gave my querulous inner critic the night off. 8000 words later, I had some useful fresh plot twists, insights and inspiration. I'd also been able to "kill" some of my floppier "darlings" plus some of Thirza's turns of phrase cried out for inclusion in future drafts.

So, with a clearer road map, a renewed purpose, rested and refreshed, it's a joy to put my hands back on the tiller and steer for the end of the first draft again.

I'm excited for the day in the future when I can share more of these crazy, cliffhanging emotional adventures with you!

Thanks for reading and for all your support, amazing reviews, laughs, and for sharing my writing journey!

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