Bet you haven’t read a blog with that title before! It probably isn’t going to do too well in SEO. Too bad, so sad.
I chose it because it is the name of a character invented and built by a very dear friend of mine – a young teenager living in Portugal. I don’t want to give you her name, let’s just call her FR.
FR would like to be a writer and she recently started a story featuring a young girl called Petronella Ginco Billoba (and, yes, Ginco Billoba, spelled differently, is the name of a tree). Petronella set off valiantly into her story and then, somehow, she ran out of steam.
Have you ever have that happen to you? You invent this wonderful character and have great ideas for plot and conflict, even for an antagonist but…
It has happened to me lots of times, and I hate it. FR is finding out while she is still young how disappointing it can be. I’m wondering how other people get over the good-idea-run-out-of-steam doldrums.
Myself, I remind myself of the need for pre-planning, outlining and building a story arc. It works wonders, until next time – when I get so carried away with my terrific new idea that I forget again.
One friend recommends never pausing the writing in a logical place – at the end of a chapter, or in a lull. She insists you should only stop in the middle – the middle of the action, the middle of a scene, the middle of a paragraph or even the middle of a sentence.
Her logic is that, once you get going again and finish the sentence or the paragraph, you’ll have built momentum to keep on going past end of that scene and on into the next one.
Others have suggested that you build such a strong character that she (or he) keeps on going, getting deeper and deeper into trouble at every step. Then her spunkiness will carry her from one pickle to another, one adventure to a bigger adventure.
And as you are hurtling towards the first exploit, make a quick note about what the next exploit will be – who or what will challenge her and how she will respond.
Someone like FR will probably have a young female protagonist, someone spunky, adventurous but a little naive. If the character has been well developed her innate qualities – her positive and less positive characteristics – will lead her to take some risks, encounter dangers, building from small to larger to life-threatening.
Try some pre-planning, some in-depth character delineation and finding the strength to pause in the middle of the good stuff. Those seem to me like the best ideas for carrying the stuck writer forward.
Do you have any favourite strategies to add?