Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I've made it a purpose to find some time for my writing these last few days, but I am having a hard hard time moving forward in my book. Right now it's about 33,000 words and pretty much a complete story.

I know I need to add more (especially since CANARY is 73,000...more the close to the norm for YA literature).

I want to add more.

But I've found myself staring at my text/outline more than writing.

I feel like everything I want to add is just stuff. It's not really important to the story.

In the past, I was able to go back through and develop things more.

Now, my story is just there.

I'm not even sure it's writer's block.

It's more like, "I don't know what else this story needs block."

Does this make sense?

Do you ever get stuck?

If so...what do you do?

You guys are always so great with comments, so I'm hoping to get some help on this topic.

I'd love any kind of advice for how you unstick (or unblock) yourself!


Sarah said...

I feel you. Right now I'm pretty stuck too. I guess I try working on somethin else if I can. Or I try taking a nap to clear my hear. Perhaps listening to some music to get some ideas flowing. I don't really know. Sometimes it takes a few days to come to me. Good luck. I'm kind of stuck right now too so I don't really know what to tell you.

Melissa said...

When I get stuck, I try to recreate those moments that are most inspiring. Music is great to relax and break a block and, honestly, reducing the pressure to write more helps, too :)

Best of luck!

Kristan said...

Definitely don't add just for the sake of adding!

1) Can you add more complications? What's the worst that could happen? Make it happen.

2) Is there another perspective that's important to the story? Someone's voice that's missing?

3) Is it possible that this really is meant to be just a novella? If so, are there other complementary stories/novellas you could write to go with it?

Jen said...

Getting stuck sucks...

How to fix? Hmm this one is tough, sometimes character collages or extra outlines help. Post-it notes are also a huge help, you pull out your whiteboard and jot your key notes and try to elaborate.

If you try several different methods and still feel like the book is complete in a way then move on for a few days working on a new idea and your muse will eventually pop up and show you the way.

At least that's the only advice I can think of! Good Luck!

Nomes said...

i've been stuck twice. once @ 26k and it's been completely abandoned (tried lots of brain storming and in the end just had to move on for my own sanity).

the other time i tweaked my premise to create more conflict in the original idea which helped add a new dynamic into some of the sub plots.

not sure if that is helpful, but i liked this post - makes me feel not so alone :)

Eileen Wiedbrauk said...

This is when I'd be asking the big structural questions. Is this the right conflict? The right structure? The right POV? If it's only half the word count you expected, then is this the right story for the right character? Who else is important? What further, unexplored layers does this story have?

Unfortunately, these are rather vague questions. The more specific questions that I go through take up about five or six pages (and that's just the questions, not their answers!)

Depending on your relationship with your agent, this might also be a good time to talk to her and get her professional help.

Mina Carlisle said...

This must be the week of the "stucks" because even though I've made progress on my WiP, I'm still stuck.

It's hard for me to unblock myself because when I intentionally try to block myself, I can't do it, but when I have something else to work on, like school work, then I can automatically become unstuck! It's so horrid!

Take a nice bubble bath and read a book (or wedding magazine!) maybe taking time away from it when you can instantly go back if you get inspired will help!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Like Kristan, I was going to suggest that perhaps this was a novella. What complimentary story could go with it? A negative or reverse image? The story behind the loser? Repurcussions for the descendants of the winner? (I don't know the genre, so I'm grasping here ...)

Or could it be that the story you have written is only a part of a larger story? Is there something else that encompasses the tale you have written?

Just some thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Maybe you need to get some feedback. I heard of someone mentioning alpha readers on another blog. That's a person you share with as you're writing. You can send me your outline if you like and I'll see if I can offer any suggestions. No promises that I'll be any help, but you never know.

Lenny said...

hi miss rachele! maybe its just what it is and there isnt any more. maybe you could just put it down a while and go do some other stuff and have some fun and when it gets out of your head go back and read it. maybe then you could think of some stuff you didnt think of before. its like smacking youself in the head and sayin OH WOW why i didnt think of that when i was writing it. i hope you get unstuck.
...smiles from lenny

Cheyanne said...

Get some people you trust to read it and they may have some questions about characters or scenes they felt went unanswered in the book. You could also set it aside for a while and see how you feel about it later. Good luck!

Scott said...

Sometimes you just can't make a mountain out of a mole hill. That doesn't mean it isn't a perfectly excellent mole hill. I used to get so frustrated at coming up with ideas that didn't pan out into something that was novel length. Now, I can't seem to come up with an idea that fits in a single book! Don't get stressed if what you've created doesn't have novel-length legs. By all means, reassess whether or not it can be expanded, but if it ain't broke...:)

apalfrey said...

What if it's just meant to be a novelette for now? Look at Ender's Game. O.S.C. left it as a novelette for years till he went back and developed it into a full blown series! I say leave it for now and come back later.