POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE
By Nandy Ekle
Okay. You’ve got a concept and you sort of have a plot—at least, you know where you want to the concept to go. You’ve got a theme and a great opening that reaches out and grabs your readers by the throat. This is going to be a great story! You can’t write it fast enough. Your characters are telling all the right things and you are humming along telling your tale and feeling wonderful.
Until a giant wall of Nothing hits you in the face. You stare at he computer screen for days and no new words appear. You re-read everything you’ve written up to this point, still nothing. You know exactly what happens next and how it happens, why, and even what comes after that. But when you type a word, it sounds like a toddler just learning to talk. You have come to *cues Psycho Shower Scene Music* Writer’s Block.
I don’t know how to cure Writer’s Block or even how to avoid it. Stephen King says the cure is to write through it. But it is debilitating enough to make you want to stick your tongue out at Mr. King.
So I tried something this week. I thought to myself, I love the challenge of being able to write anything. So I wrote to my critique partners (you’ve really got to get some of those—they’re wonderful) and asked them to assign me something to write about, just to see if I could do it. They suggested I take the main character of my story and write a characterization for her. So I did.
And I learned a million and one things about, not just a paperdoll I had made up, but a person that lives and breathes. She’s more than just a vehicle to tell my story, she’s living it. I already knew her name and things like that. I knew what she wants and why she wants it and how she’s going to try to get it and what’s going to happen when she does. What I didn’t know is what her favorite color is, what her hobbies are and why she wants what she does, other than the obvious. I needed more than just to hear her voice, I needed to feel her breath on my ear when she speaks.
In learning these things, I could see the deeper layers of my story. I can see that it’s not just the story of what and where she is now, but where and what she will be in the future and why. I learned that the little adventure she’s having now is actually just the beginning of her story, because what she wants deep down is way more than one book can handle.
In short, I now see exactly where she’s going for at least two more books.
Dear Critique Group, Thank You.
Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.