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Writer's block

I'm completely blocked when it comes to writing Floor or anything else for that matter. It doesn't show in ROCR because I have both the momentum (or inertia) of a long story that I know inside out and a huge amount of already-written dialogue for this particular sequence. I can develop ROCR on the basis of that.
But the moment I start trying to turn my attention to Floor, my brain turns to mush and insists on being distracted by anything that looks even remotely shiny. If nothing shiny is available, I find something dull to distract me instead.
I'm already late for the editorial deadline for the script, and it's only the fact that the head editor's on holiday and has left a big gap in the schedule to deal with everyone else's holidays that I'm being spared from having editorial wrath rain down on me. I've called in reinforcements from a writer who's helped me out before, but I'm holding out against hope that I will break out of this.

Writers in the audience: What's your writer's block cure?

Comments (5)

I am not sure if I ever had writer's block (then again, I don't write that much), but when I am having trouble trying to think of things, I try and find as many different approaches to solving the problem as possible. For instance, I would try and think of subjects, styles, back stories, characters and their development, tie-ins with recent news, with old news, with stuff that under no possible circumstance could be viewed as news anymore, with literature, art, tv.

For instance, have you considered writing a Floor episode entirely in rhyme? Or perhaps an episode in which Floor herself doesn't star, but her parents, teachers, friends? Or you could have a flashback to Floor as a toddler, or perhaps you could have her dream of having a baby herself (I am suddenly having Maaikeësque visions of Floor having make-belief make-out with Mike, only to have a full-grown baby in the next panel--no sex, no pregnancy--and saying in a surprised voice "Yuk, a baby!"), or she could be getting a baby brother/sister/nephew/niece. Perhaps a Floor episode could be set in a historical setting, or perhaps she could participate in a historic re-enactment, or be in a school play. She could get run over by a car; not pleasant, but rife with dramatic possibilities and change of scenery.

I find that it helps to force myself to come up with as much ideas as possible. Don't stop at five or ten, but at 100 or 200. In this stage, there is no such thing as a bad idea. Don't stop until you have at least several dozens of bad ideas. Then, like somebody looking for gold in a river, sift through the ideas and make a quality assesment. You'll find that the majority will suck without remedy, there will also be three or four that have it in them to become something good, and finally ten to fifteen will sort of suck, except that they have something that may be worth salvaging.

Anyway, I cannot think of any now, but if I have any ideas for a Floor episode tomorrow, I'll mail them to you.

I don't get blocked like this much either. It's like the brain has gone on strike, really. I'll try to get some brainstorming done tomorrow (probably while my legs are paddling away towards the Dutch-German border - that should help although lately it hasn't)...

I should mention that I find _Floor_ hardest to write of all the things I ever done, because there are so many limitations involved. It has to appeal to, and be understood, by an audience of 10-to-11-year-olds who at best know only a few words of English. The range used to be wider, but last year the publisher decided to narrow it down to the very youngest half of Hello You's original audience, and start a new magazine for the older half.

And that's another part of why I don't get the flow of ideas going right now. Instead of going wild and allowing any old idea to pop up and get considered, I am censoring myself before I've properly started. Not so much on the basis of what I can get away with for that audience - after all, I know what Mars Gremmen gets away with in the same magazine, but on the basis of what I think the readership will understand and like.

Geir:

If I knew what to do with a writers block, I'd be a happy man...

Ideas is never a problem, it's what all too often happen when you sit down to write them out. Suddenly, everything is blanked out.

What works best for me, is having a must-meet-or-die deadline approaching fast. Then I'll happily sit down and write something totally unrelated. Barrelsful of it.

Procrastinators of the world, unite!

In that case, I should be right as rain later this week, when my editor returns from vacation and the ROCR buffer will be empty.

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