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Beware of "Stealth Writer's Block"

Well, we're mostly settled into our new place, so the dust is slowly settling from all of that.

Well mostly settled.

Still unpacking and organizing where we want things to go and how, but that's just normal after a move. But sometimes figuring out how to organize your story and where you want certain events or revelations to go can also be pretty tricky. It can even lead to problems I'd never thought about, like Writer's Block. Or, as it was with me recently, STEALTH WRITER'S BLOCK! Now what I mean by that is a kind of Writer's Block you aren't even aware of. To give you an example, this is what happened to me. I had finished a particular scene in my current novel and had moved way beyond it with the rest of the story. But for some odd reason, I kept finding myself going back to that scene and wondering about it. It would happen every so often then I'd get back to where I actually left off writing. But soon enough I was back to that scene again. And slowly my whole writing process came to grinding halt as I kept studying that scene and dwelling on it. It took me a week or more to realize what had happened and that I needed to fix that scene in some way to make the rest of the book make more sense and feel complete. At this point you can see what I called it "Stealth Writer's Block", and I had a bad case of it. I kept turning that one scene over and over in my mind, like I was working on a Rubik's Cube. I got so desperate I turned to a Magic Eight Ball and started juggling it just for giggles. Giggling at this point is not a good sign. If you find yourself suffering from this, please see a doctor at once. Preferably "Doctor Who".

Ah, much better...

Seriously, I find watching something I really enjoy sometimes helps me get past writer's block. It allows my mind to wander, while being entertained. A part of my brain analyzes the story I'm watching and breaks down its pacing, plots, subplots, characterization, etc., while the rest of my mind is being entertained. Then I'll compare what I've analyzed with the scene I'm stuck on and poof, inspiration hits or in this case insight. After watching my shows and sorting through my musings, I finally realized what was wrong with the scene, nothing. It was fine as it stood, it even worked well with the overall feel of the novel. So what was bothering me about it, you ask? I could expand and change it ever so slightly to important provide foreshadowing for events coming later in the novel. So I went back and made the adjustments I envisioned and cranked out between 3000-7000 words in a couple of days. I even cut down the overall word-count for the novel at this point leaving myself room for extra scenes I had in mind for the climactic final battle. For those who are wondering why I'm worried about word-count I'll address that in one of my upcoming blogs. It is something all writers have to be aware of when you are creating the final version of your work which you intend to send to agents or publishers. Now I have my book back on track and its looking much better. The story seems more gripping and the overall flow feels more natural to me. So beware of the dreaded "Stealth Writer's Block", it may appear at any time. It may even have its claws sunk into you at this moment, if it does I have this advice. Take two episodes of whatever is your favorite show and then call your manuscript in the morning. Once it shows up for breakfast give it a really good going over and see if any tweaking might be needed. Until next time, keep writing.

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