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Friday, August 20, 2010

WHEN WRITER’S BLOCK IS GOOD

  
   By K. Keith



I had a very long day. The subway train coming home was hot and not in an entertaining way. All the cars on the street below my building showed off their car alarms. I had dinner. I’d gotten everything ready for the next day. Now thankfully in bed, I closed my eyes.

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2….I was almost asleep. And then it hit.

What if Juliana could not get into her bedchamber because of a vicious mastiff sitting in front of the door? Then she has to run upstairs and tap on the door of Lord Wilton’s chamber and…

I was plugging my plot holes, but why then? Just when I needed sweet oblivion, I was coming up with all of these scene ideas. And it was midnight.

Alas, the best ideas sometimes come at the worst times.

Another choice moment occurred when I was all lathered up in the shower. Ah, peace and quiet. Nothing but me and the soap and NPR blasting away from the radio in the next room.

And then it struck again.

What if Lord Wilton opens the door and lets Juliana in, but there’s another tap at the door? He opens the door again, and there’s his ex-girlfriend. Juliana, in the meantime, dives under his bed where she sees a mouse…

Argh! I had to jump out of the shower to write it down before I lost the scene in my head. A puddle formed at my feet as I jotted it down.

It does seem unfair sometimes that the ideas come not when one is fully dressed, well-fed, wide-awake, and sitting in front of one’s laptop, but at a moment when one would be quite content with writer’s block.♥



K. Keith is a RWANYC member. She's busy writing her first historical romance, HEXFORD, about Lord Wilton, aka Hexford, and Juliana.

6 comments:

  1. I know these scenarios well, Karen. And all too often have assured myself, "you'll remember it in the morning", and roll over and go back to sleep only to wake and realize the faint wisp of inspiration has drifted away. However, I have learned to have a pad and pen (waterproof) while I lounge in the tub to avoid losing ideas that come to me there. The muse is a whimsical creature, is she not?

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  2. I think what happens is when we're relaxed and our minds are uncluttered, the creative side of us has more room to thrive and that's when we sometimes unexpectedly expand on stories that we are working on or come up with new and great ideas.

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  3. I agree with Anne. The shower, or my 30 minute walk to work can be fertile ground for the least expected ideas or scenes to pop in. Sometimes I'll have a whole conversation with myself (or my characters will, anyway). Then I have to try to jot the ideas down before they "drift" away, as Lise says. I now keep a pad and pen on the night table, just in case....

    I hope you have plenty more muse-inspired disruptions in your life, Karen, so I can someday read the finished tale of Juliana and Hexford!

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  4. Thank you Lise, Anne, and Lis for your great comments! I'll have to get one of those waterproof pens and pads. Lise, where do you get them? Lis and Anne, I very much agree with you about relaxation resulting in more creativity. Karen K.

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  5. Hi Karen K., great blog! I have been in that predicament, even standing up on the bus going to work. I have a 4-year-old Nokia cell phone with Voice Notes feature. It's perfect for times like that because it seems to the public within earshot that you're talking to someone, not yourself! I haven't run into the shower inspiration yet, but I have shot up in the midst of sweet slumber with an idea. I have a digital recorder for those moments because my handwriting is chicken scratch when I'm half asleep (learned that from trying to write down dreams). Even watching the clothes dryer can bring ideas into your head and rarely do I have pen and paper in there. But I do have my cell phone!

    Karen S.

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  6. Hi Karen--I thought up some good stuff for my Viking novel while I was sitting on the screened porch. I ran in the house and wrote it on a yellow legal pad. If I'm out and about, I use the blank back pages of my Dayminder. Elizabeth Palladino

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