ramble: on writer’s block & related problems

It’s all well and good to say that the cure to writer’s block is, clearly, to write. Perhaps, what I am suffering from is more of writer’s frustration than anything else. I suppose it’s the pressure of my dissertation deadline coming up, but I’m finding it difficult to focus on my writing.

<whine>

For my online serial, Above Ground, I’m having what I call roadmap issues. I have chapters 10 and 11 written, and a mini interlude planned afterwards. But where do I go after there, I wonder? I know how the story is going to end, but right now the path to that scene is utterly murky.

Then there’s my WIP novel, also adventure fantasy (with less science and a tad more urban). It’s currently stagnating at 50,000 words. Why? Mainly because I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve realized a plot device back in the first ten chapters needs to be edited/revised, and the thought of going back to fix it fills me with dread. Especially because I went back to rewrite chapter 1 and failed, miserably.

How does one rewrite? I know I need to be ruthless, but it’s so hard to cut out all the background crap and cut to the chase.

Of course, the real buzz-killer at the moment is my dissertation. For those of you whom are unaware, I am completing an MA in Publishing, and writing my dissertation on pseudonyms and the marketability of author names.  It’s interesting stuff, but I find writing non-fiction so dry and dull that after 15 minutes of working I end up procrastinating.  Yes, I do realize the only solution is to kick myself in the butt.  Shush.

Anyway.

</whining>

Perhaps you can give me some ideas!

• In Above Ground (if you’ve read it), after Lilith is eventually rejoined with Silver, where do you see the story going? I have some ideas but would rather not prejudice you and avoid giving spoilers.
• What are your experiences and suggestions, if any, when it comes to rewriting/editing stories? How do you make your first chapter the best it can possibly be?
• Do you use a pseudonym? If so, why? Do you think a lot of people do?
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About A.M. Harte

A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate.
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5 Responses to ramble: on writer’s block & related problems

  1. Writers block – we all have it from time to time.
    But then it is usually followed with a wave of creativity.

  2. Man, you’re writing a print novel *and* a web serial? It’s all I can do to mostly keep up with a webserial!

    • Well yeah. I don’t take the serial as seriously, obviously – it’s more a first draft.

      The novel is at about 55,000 words at the mo, but I’ve hit a bit of a block so I’ve gone back and am starting to edit/rewrite the first few chapters.

      I like working on 2 things: if I’m uninspired on one, I can always work on the other! Plus working on Above Ground is relaxing because I know it doesn’t have to be as well-written.

  3. Skyla says:

    I’m a few days late to the discussion. ;-)

    I don’t get writer’s block because I can’t let myself–part of my living depends on it. That’s not to say I don’t have books sitting at 30 – 50K words that I’m kind of stuck on, but that’s why I always have a dozen projects on the go at the same time. I’ve never been entirely blocked on any of them. So I wouldn’t say there’s any particular cure for it, and people who say “just write” are simplifying it too much. But when your career depends on producing things, you just keep working no matter how frustrating it is.

    My problem is that often I know where things need to go emotionally, but–for example, with CotA–I get stuck on the mini plot arcs that tie together all the character stuff. So that’s why half the time the characters are interesting but the plot sucks–I’m less interested in the plot stuff. ;-) So for your serial, you might want to look at what other tropes of the genre you can borrow from, and then work it into your story and see what happens.

    Or just add zombies.

    For the editing/rewriting part, I think sometimes what helps is distance. If you’ve written a big chunk of something and THEN realize that you need to go back and do something, it can be exhausting. But if you take six months away from it and then get back, you’ll likely WANT to tear the thing apart.

    • Just add zombies! Good solution, I really need to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in the near future (and I hear they’re coming out with another: Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters).

      Your rewriting comment makes sense. I’ve decided to take a break from that story and focus on the serial instead!

      Thanks for your advice :)

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