Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Mexican Alternative

On the last day of August Tim writes Another write off... He gives an interesting alternative to writer's block that I really like. The Mexican alternative. I have not heard of this one before. Tim has typical writer's block. Very similar to bricklayer's block. Bricklayer's block is more easily overcome. When a bricklayer wakes in the morning and tells his wife that he is unable to go to work that day because he has bricklayer's block his wife kicks him in the butt and sends him to work where he lays some bricks. Problem solved. Tim's problem is not that this technique would not work on him but that he doesn't have a big enough boot on the end of a helping leg in close proximity to help him over this block.

As such I think that the Mexican alternative is probably his only hope. Here's my top tip for writer's block: Don't try and continue the story but do write. You can always write something that can be used later. You have 2 alternatives; write about something completely different, say a short story. This will often spark a new idea or direction for the novel and you'll abandon the short story and go back to the novel. The second alternative is to get some dialogue going between two of the characters.

Moving on with the second idea. Say 2 of Tim's characters are Molly and Sam. Tim spent the day washing and emailing and suffering writer's block. Get Molly and Sam to discuss this in dialogue. Start off with a question. Molly tells Sam that she knew and author that had writer's block and couldn't get over it. What would Sam do in this situation?

This then forces Tim to work out what type of answer Sam would give. Remember that it has to be in Sam's character, a typical answer for him. This also allows Tim to learn more about Sam (and Molly's) characters.

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