|Chapa Traffic Jam in Maputa, by A Verdade|
licensed for re-use at Creative Wikimedia commons
I've learned to not freak out when I'm feeling stuck, and instead remind myself that every step, however small, is a step forward for my writing. So here are my favorite things to do when I'm feeling stuck:
1. Breathe in the story. I often do this when I'm brainstorming a new project. I will immerse myself in the story world. Sometimes that means checking out all the steampunk movies I can find from the library. Or cooking my character's favorite food. Or attending an event my character would be interested in. For my current work-in-progress, I've been channelling my inner Disney Channel and spent a whole afternoon re-watching THE PRINCESS DIARIES 1&2. I don't approach these activities looking for something specific to put in my story - I mainly want to be inspired by the atmosphere of my story.
2. Play with the setting. I like to re-visit kindergarten days and pull out old magazines, scissors, and paste to make collages. But nowadays, there's Pinterest, and it's super easy to accomplish this same goal by pinning images that inspire my setting.
3. Interview the characters. There are hundreds of templates online for character interviews. I always drag my feet on this one, because it seems so silly, but then when I actually do it: it's amazing! My characters go from flat and frenetic to motivated, well-rounded individuals.
|Beautiful. Isn't it?|
6. Write or Die. Besides being an awesome bumper-sticker phrase, this is my go-to website on the days when I loathe my story and think every plot-point is boring, every character stale and carboard-y. I feel like no one will ever want to read my writing - I don't even want to read it. Then I click over to Write or Die (the freebie trial version is awesome), and let pressure do its thing. Some of my most unexpected plot twists have come from Dr. Wicked's Writing Lab.
How about you, Mayhemers? What are your favorite go-to tips for getting un-stuck?