Saturday, September 25, 2010

Overcoming Writer's Block

By Christine Thackeray

The beginning of this week I had arranged my schedule to spend hours writing. I'm working on a screenplay, spoke to a co-author about changes and was determined to get through them for our conference call on Friday. Unfortunately, everytime I sat down, I'd stare at the page and couldn't make it work. Then I'd do something else, hoping the answer would just "come", but NOTHING!

I remember a few years ago Heather Moore told me that most writer's block is a result of unclear characters or motivation. That was exactly the problem in my case but I couldn't make it work. The person I'm working with wanted to change the action in the first scene but by doing it, it changed the main character. The old main character would never have done such a thing. I remembered reading Dwight Swain who believed that you could recreate characters with quirks that could do what you wanted them to but I couldn't bend any personality to be consistent with the two events.

On Thursday afternoon, so frustrated I could pull my HAIR OUT, I took my husband out to lunch and forced him to listen to my dilemna. He told me to just change the character. Make her the new girl and change the dialogue so it's her. Oh. Duh. The minute I accepted the new main character, everything fell in place. Dailogue started coming to my mind and it was genuine. Ta-da. Block over.

I got the first five scenes done and mailed them off just before my meeting but the meeting was cancelled. We'll meet next Friday instead, only this time I hope to have the rewrite complete. That is hope because this week I may not have writer's block but with something going on everyday next week, do I have the time???