14 September

Not Writing? Return to the Scene Cards...


If you've been in a writing frenzy, your fingers not able to keep up with your mind, and then, all of a sudden one day, your fingers stop. Cold.

They won't move. They won't budge.

They're the equivalent of a stubborn mule.

You curse them. You talk to yourself.

"What the heck? Get going already! We're at that part where the feral rutabaga storms in on the alien monkey, and lasers are lifted, and—"

Nothing. Nope. Fingers don't care about that climactic laser duel. Couldn't care less. Fingers close the laptop, and they walk away and go make a coffee and pick up an Archie comic to read...(hey, don't laugh. I love Archie comics! I also love War & Peace. I am a complicated weirdo...)

"What is the deal here?" You ask.

I answer, "Back to the scene cards, dear writer of tales."

Writers need to know more than how to write books. They need to read their own minds. Your brain is not only a powerful organ, but a protective one, too. It won't make you do something you're not equipped to do.

If your writing was going great and then stopped cold, chances are it's because there's,

  • a) something wrong with the next scene, or
  • b) the next scene you've created isn't fleshed out enough for your mind's eye to see it, to translate it to those fingers.

Stop trying to write. Proactively engage in the writer process. There is one, you know...

Go back to your scene cards. Lay them all out in a linear story fashion. And take a hard look at the story arc. 

  • Is a scene or scenes missing? 
  • Are characters missing? 
  • Is the next scene needed? Relevant? Is it just an Info Dump?
  • Are the character motivations right?
  • Am I missing dialogue here?

If all's well there, then look at the next scene card you've yet to write out. 

  • Brainstorm to expand the details of that scene. 
  • Make sure, like a book, it has a beginning, middle and end.
  • If more research is needed, do that. Maybe there are details you need to know before further writing can begin.

Chances are, when you return to your scene cards, something in the plot/character evolution/devolution is off, or you're missing a scene(s)/scene details to continue the story.

I'll guarantee that once you complete this exercise, your brain will again be on fire, and your fingers will rush to keep up.

HOMEWORK: Trust your brain. See it as your friend, not your enemy. And hit those scene cards and further flesh them out, and watch your finger dance begin again.

New writer doubts, fears, often include a mistrust of our brain, when nothing of the kind should exist. The more you trust your brain-to-finger writer process, the less stress you'll have, and the more the tales will flow out on the page. I guarantee it.

P.S. Tell your fingers to make another coffee. This one is cold. ;-)

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