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Johne

Writing Tip From Merrie

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A writing tip from author Merrie Destefano:
 

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Writing Tip: Sometimes, when I'm having problems with a particular scene or chapter, I'll rewrite it in a different POV, changing it from third-person to first or vice versa. This gives me a different perspective and often enables me to fix things I couldn't see before. After that scene is done, I change the POV back to fit the rest of the book.

 

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I'd rather just sulk for three days with writer's block and lament the impossibility of fixing the problem with my scene. Makes me feel more like a writer.

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I'm trying to get my diary writer through a Montana winter. Seems unlikely a reader would turn pages that simply say, "Still can't get out of the cabin."

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Sometime I find that when I start something, and leave it unfinished, I let it "ferment" for a few days.  Then when I go back, suddenly, it all falls into place.

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On 1/25/2020 at 6:02 PM, paulchernoch said:

'd rather just sulk for three days with writer's block and lament the impossibility of fixing the problem with my scene

If three days of sulking would fix it, it would have been done a couple weeks ago. I finally just set it aside and continued in the spring.

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Writer's block manifests itself in two ways to me:

  • when my subconscious identifies something wrong with my story and I can't continue until I figure it out. The fix is always to go back upstream to a place where the novel was still working and rewrite from there.
  • when I try to write something in the wrong genre for the rest of the novel (as when I was trying to write an Epic Action finale for a Thriller novel). The fix is to read up on the conventions and obligatory scenes for the genre and stay in my lane, genre-wise.

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3 minutes ago, carolinamtne said:

The problem is that they get snowed in, so what does she write in her diary for a month? (Montana winter)

This is normally where I'd ask what genre you're writing in (Content genre and not Marketing genre) but that assumes knowledge of the Story Grid in order to have that discussion, so I'll set that aside for now.

Instead, I'd brainstorm a little. Here are the first things which come to mind:

  • philosophical - if I was snowed in and occupied myself by writing and there was nothing outside going on to write about, I'd probably wax philosophic and start thinking about my life and how I came to be snowed in for a month in Montana and if that's what I wanted from my life.
  • flights of fancy - when I tired of that, I'd start daydreaming and writing about things outside of a bleak Montana winter, warmer climates, exotic locations, adventures, things like that.

But all of that would have to be in service to the larger story I was trying to tell. It's possible being snowed in is itself the source of your writer's block. Maybe the solution is to try taking that out and seeing where the story goes.

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1 hour ago, carolinamtne said:

Good ideas, Johne. The problem is that they get snowed in, so what does she write in her diary for a month? (Montana winter)

 

Is she entirely alone? If so you could just have a gap in the diary here. Real diaries are like that sometimes.


 Might be more intriguing to speculate on what that snowed-in winter must have been like, then have it spelled out bit by bit.

 

But if she isn't alone, or is facing any kind of challenges besides isolation, it's probably worth writing about.

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3 hours ago, Zee said:

Is she entirely alone?

Actually, no. Her mother and a young boy (10 years old) are with her. And they have animals to tend. 

 

Johne, I like the idea of her being philosophical. She has been before, so that would work in. 

 

From the time frame (1866) and the events, it's a western, but not the gunslinger kind. She and her mother are looking for Father, who took off for the gold mines in Montana. Then he sent a telegram that he would meet them in Fort Laramie. He was not there, but someone else was riding his horse. They have gone on to Virginia City. Still no sign of him.

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