I find this technique a great writer’s block smasher… or at least a writer’s block chiseler.
Whenever you get stuck ask, Now what?
That’s the first question.
If nothing comes to mind, think of your characters overall perspective, preferences and desires. Make sure you know what they are. This is where back story become critical.
I’ve heard JK Rowling in interviews talk about how much back story she writes on her characters. Most of the information never makes it into the final version of her novels.
However, because she knew her characters so intimately, she’d draw on their unique perspectives which created the answers to What now?
The answers were very specific actions taken for very specific reasons which only that character could think of.
Do you see how this could free you up and break the chains of writer’s block?
So whenever you get stuck, go back to your character’s perspective, preferences and desires. There’s a lot of energy to draw on.
Write or flesh out your character’s back story to the extent you understand them like you understand your best friend or sibling.
Romeo, our dashing leading man, has just scaled the side of a waterfall doused cliff to greet the love of his life. He gets to the top and sees his beloved Juliet through the window of her cabin in the arms of another man.
Where For Art Thou, Romeo?
The answer can be based both on Romeo’s overall perspective, preferences and desires.
You, as the writer, want adventure and romance in this story. Romeo is an athletic, adventurous man willing to do whatever he can to be with the woman he loves.
So based on Romeo’s perspective & preferences does he:
- Kick down the door and barge his way in?
- Does he knock on the door and then knock the other man out when he answers?
- Does he try to create a diversion so the other man will leave and he can take Juliet?
- Would he take the chance to set the house on fire and rescue Juliet?
- Would he send a goat as a present from a neighbor with a poisoned note attached to the collar for the man inside to read?
- Or maybe its meant for Juliet to read?
- Does Romeo know him?
Or whatever. Do you see where you can go with this?
Depending on what kind of man Romeo is, will determine the answers to these questions. If in fact, any of these answers prove relevant to who you decide Romeo is.
Like An Actor
This is not unlike the work of an actor.
Great actors usually make copious notes on who their characters are. What did their character do before the scene started? What will they be doing after the scene ends? What are their childhood memories? Even though none of those memories are ever mentioned in the script.
This is story telling.
Know your characters and they will lead you on the journey of your story. Understand your character’s perspective, preferences and desires and you will find the straightest path to the end of your story.
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Thanks for reading. I wish you many imaginative tales. R.M. Robbins
Main writer’s site: thewritersnexus.com
R.M. Robbins Mixed Media Art site: seekcraft.com
Find R.M. on Instagram: @seekcraft1
On Twitter: @MottledMedia