Thursday 9 February 2012

When the heart says yes, and the mind says 'Oh I can't...' A Guest post by Lisa Taylor

When the heart says yes, and the mind says 'Oh, I can't; I'm too tired to even try - Otherwise known as Writer's Block.  

You know how excited you get when you first start a new project? You have this great story in mind, you’ve visualized some exciting, terrifying or heart-gripping scene and you can’t wait to get started – and then you sit down. That white document stares at you from the screen, and the cursor blinks its impatience. You know where you are, and you know where you need to go, but the words to get you there suddenly elude you.  You think, “It was going to be perfect! It was all there in my head. So what happened?”
Well, lucky for you, writer’s block is a well known condition among writers, and you are most certainly not alone. But that doesn’t help you write that darned book, does it?
Well maybe this will. I’m certainly no expert on writer’s block or even writing techniques in general, but this does help me when I’m struggling to find the right words: Zoom In Outlining

Some writers create extremely detailed outlines before they start writing at all, and if that’s you, then this may not be your cure. Some of us though, like to just write from the gut; and that’s great when it works! When it doesn’t, well, a more detailed outline can help.
If you’ve got the great idea for a story, but you can’t figure out how to get from where you are to the next section, you most likely already have a basic outline, or could write one very quickly;

this is my character
this is where they are at the beginning
this happens
that happens
they meet so and so
final battle
they live happily ever after

Ok, good start. But maybe you can’t find the words to get your character from the beginning to “this happens,” or perhaps from “they meet so and so” to the “final battle.”
So zoom in. Create another outline. Make the space between “this happens” and “that happens” a story in itself, and outline how you would write it. Give it a beginning, middle and climax. That will give you more points between the two you started with, and then you can do it again. Using this zoom in technique, you can outline all the way down to every word your character says if need be – and that’s okay. Remember, you’ll edit later and get rid of extraneous detail or needless scenes.  Right now all you want to do is put pen to paper (or, more likely, finger to keyboard!), and a zoomed in outline, if you zoom in far enough, can lead you step by step through those murky areas where you’re not quite sure what to say.

 Lisa M. Taylor is a Texas native who spent her live moving around the United States. In May 2010 she graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a degree in physics, and after a short time in grad school she began to publish her writing and pursue a career as a professional writer. She is the author of The Hour of Tiamat, a YA Paranormal fiction novel released in June of 2011, and a horror anthology compsed of spine-tingling poetry called Book of Dreams and Nightmares, released in December 2010. Currently she lives in Kentucky, works at the local public library, and is working hard on the first book of a YA Fantasy Trilogy tentatively dubbed the Crystal Chronicles.

The Hour of Tiamat synopsis: We've all heard of the Mayan predictions of a vast change coming in the year 2012; but it turns out the ancient Sumerian people had a very similar prophecy…

The dreaded Necronomicon, a book of fable said to contain all the ancient knowledge of the Sumerian civilization has surfaced and fallen into the hands of four teenagers in a small Texas town. Tonight, after years of studying its dark teachings in secret, they gather to call back to Earth those Gods that tried to enslave humanity over ten thousand years ago, and in turn become rulers themselves.

Under threat of his life, Tristan helps them complete the ritual; but does that mean it is too late to stop this apocalypse? With Evelyn, whose past and future seem inextricably linked to Tristan, their friend Hunter and a host of surprising paranormal helpers, Tristan will race against murderers, monsters, and time itself to shut the ancient gate before our evil creators are upon us again.

A wonderful post! Thank you, Lisa! 

Want to chat with Lisa? Know more about her and her latest writing project?