02 January 2019

Wednesday's Writers Block Bypass Exercise

I first posted this back in August 2017, but only now decided to follow up with a regular post (now that I figured out I can schedule posts ahead of time).  For this first one, I'm reposting what I wrote, to make sure I go in order. I find these cards are great and wanted to pass them along. (Disclaimer: I make no money on endorsements from this deck). 

Got Writer’s Block?

 Yeah, it happens to the best of us.  Life gets in the way and your brain is taken in another direction and before you know it, it’s been days or weeks since you last looked at that book you’re trying to write.  You’ve forgotten little details.  What eye color did you give your hero?  What town was your heroine born in? 

My awesome significant other, Mike, got me a Writer’s Emergency Pack two years ago for my birthday. They’re by John August and I thought I’d give you a little jump start that might be fun for your brain.  They were for mine.  So, focus on the moment in your story that’s causing you grief and see if these exercises help you out.

First one…

Cause and Effect

 Actions have consequences.  How can the next few events result because of something your hero does?

 >Talk through your story, replacing every “and then” with “because”. What would need to change?

> Imagine your story being told in reverse, Memento-style. How could your setups become payoffs?

> The biggest effects come from irrevocable choices. List three decisions your hero couldn’t take back.

Everything happens for a reason. Usually, that reason should be your hero. Look for ways he can take the reins of the story.  There’s nothing wrong with a “passive” hero as long as his passivity alters the course of the story. (By his doing nothing, something changes). Consider reversing the cause and effect.  What if your hero robs a bank because he’s a fugitive?  What if your doctor causes rather than cures the epidemic?

Drama happens when opposing forces are in play, and the easiest way to write this is direct cause and effect. Stories come to life when it's "show not tell". Action derived form effect moves the story along and helps jumpstart your writing mojo. If all else fails, perhaps move away from linear storytelling to somewhere else to write that piece out. I use @@@@ to separate story lines. Just remember, a character is more interesting when he has something driving him to do the things he's doing. Have fun and happy writing!

***John August designed these cards to help writers fix plot holes, spice up stock characters and rethink your themes.  They, of course, do not guarantee you’ll get published or that you’ll become the next J.K. Rowling, and of course they are only a tool to help you think outside the box. I make no monetary gain with them nor do I expect anything in return.  I do not own the contents in these cards. If you're interested in them, here's the amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Writer-Emergency-Pack/dp/B00R6ZLIOY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1502046610&sr=8-2&keywords=john+august 

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