Monday, November 14, 2011

Too Much Of A Good Thing

     “Writer’s block,” a term used to describe the moment when a writer is in the middle of their work and says, “What do I write next?” It is reasonable to believe the all authors will have to face this horrible moment at some point during their writing. But how about experiencing the flipside of this dreaded literary malady? What if you were to experience what I call “Writer’s flow?”

     I define “writer’s flow” as the moment when a writer is in the middle of their work and says, “ I don’t know which one of these ideas to write about?” In essence, your head is brimming with all sorts of possibilities, but you don’t know which one you should put to the page. Sounds ludicrous?  Maybe, but that’s a problem I had to face when I was writing Sleeper’s Run. I know, I know… what a horrible problem to have. Actually, it is. It kind of reminds me of those old choose-your-own-adventure books in which you were faced with a decision, “Do you help the wounded old lady or do you walk on?” Depending on your choice, you had to go to a different page to continue the adventure. Oh, and by the way, the old lady turned into a monster and killed me. I had to start all over.

     I have never experienced “writer’s block.” But there were a few times when I couldn’t decide where I’d want to take the story. If Eric did so and so, then this could happen and the story would veer into that direction. If this other character did something else, then the plot would develop this other way. I had at least three viable avenues to tell the story, and I had to spend a few days trying to decide which one was the most interesting. I had to go through each scenario in my head with a fine-toothed comb and gauge in which direction to head. Some of the criteria were believability, flow, how engaging the option was, which one was cliché, etc. In the end, I had to use my intuition as to what best would continue the story.

     I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has experienced “writer’s flow,” but probably I’m the only one who sees it as a potential problem. Paralysis through analysis, I guess. 

Keep on running!

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