Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When It Flows, It Flows

There seems to be a moment in my writing when I get tripped up. The plot stalls or a character has some issue that I can't figure out. I wind up staring at the screen, trying to figure out what happens next, and nothing comes to mind.

It's not writer's block exactly. I know how the story is going to end, I just don't know how to get there or I think the path I've taken isn't ideal. It's more of a confidence issue. Normally, I can overcome it by just plodding through, telling myself, "It's just a draft. You can fix it later." Sometimes, though, I have to step away.

Usually when I step away, I will work on another project, something completely different from what I'm stalled on. This happened to me yesterday. I was working on my paranormal romance when I hit a snag. Instead of getting frustrated, I moved on to a zombie story. Man, that thing just gushed out of me! I love it when that happens.

Like I said, a lot of it comes down to confidence. I know I can write zombie stories (whether they are any good, well, that's a different debate!), but I'm unsure about paranormal romance. I don't read romance, so I'm not exactly sure how the characters are supposed to act. I keep thinking the audience is going to read it and realize I'm a hack. A voice at the back of my brain keeps telling me that my story sucks, so I get stuck. (Does it really suck? Maybe, but I'll never know unless I get it on paper.)

I have to tell myself that my take on a romantic story doesn't have to fit the mold of the genre because it's not what I normally write. I tell myself I'm bringing in something new, something different, that fits who I am as an author. With any luck, the audience will like it. If not, well, I stick to what I'm good at!

Moving onto a different story, one that I know I can write, also helps boost my confidence. It makes me think, "You can do this. You're adaptable, you're skilled. Just go for it!" It also gives me time to look at it from a different perspective. As soon as I'm done with zombies, I'll be ready to get back to romantic ghosts!

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