Saturday, February 21, 2009

This Week's Writing Lesson

Meg Rosoff is blogging at Penguin.com. (Thank you, Leila.) In yesterday's post, she begins:

"Letís talk about writerís block.

First of all, I donít get it. I can always write."


I was only three sentences into the post and muttering obscenities at my monitor. But then Rosoff continues with:

"What I canít always do is plot, in fact Iím somewhat hopeless at plot, and am always amazed that my books emerge with any story at all."

At which point, I was going, "Why, yes, Meg dear, I know exactly what you mean."

I wonder if a lot of people mistake not knowing what to do next (which is all about plot) for writer's block. I spend a lot of time not knowing what to do next.

One thing I learned this past week while I didn't know what to do next, was that sometimes when I don't know what to do next, it's because what I just did wasn't right. (Again, we're talking plot.) You need a good platform from which to spring to the next thing, and if the platform isn't there, maybe you just can't get anywhere. In my case this past week, I even knew what the next thing was going to be. All I needed was transitional material.

What I finally realized was that I needed something better from which to make that transition. When I went back and wrote something better at the end of Chapter...I think it was Thirteen...I was able to go on with Fourteen.

I suspect I've had this revelation before and then forgot it. I hope I remember it now.

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