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Rated: 13+ · Assignment · Action/Adventure · #2135079
Katz's class on Novel Writing

Lesson Four – Noveling Exercise - Part I - Breaking Up Writer's Block Pick at least two of the ways to break up writer’s block from our lesson above to use when writer’s block slams down on you.

Usually the cause of "Writers Block" is procrastination. Less common is "Being Tired" I mentioned two others "Ignorance" and "Other Interests" but there are remedies for these and they don't overtly act on my writing

Post the following items in one static item or entry in your So You Want To Write A Novel! folder or book item.

♥ The last time and location when writer’s block brought your writing to a screeching halt.

My wife's screeching often brings my writing to a halt... *Bigsmile* She has a long "To Do" list and she begins ticking off items when she feels I'm not paying her enough attention or the property starts looking like "Skid Row." I know I know, this isn't what the lesson trying to get at, so this brings us back to "Procrastination."

Procrastination: In the Military I was taught that there are three types of tasks. These are A's B's and Cs... Then there is a 4th category called "Overwhelming As." Anyway, Cs are piddly little tasks that can be usually knocked out in minutes. I like to do Cs because it makes me feel like I'm doing something instead of just messing around. Bs are tasks that can't be accomplished with a "Lick and a Kiss" and require me to stop everything and devote an hour or more to getting them done. A good example, is writing a review on a student who just doesn't seem to be getting it. These Bs are not so bad and I get around to doing them. As however are the ones I procrastinate most over and the "Dreaded Overwhelming A" is the worst of the lot. For example painting the front porch of our house, or repairing the rotting boards on the deck, or dropping the transmission in an antique car, tasks which take a day or more to accomplish. An Overwhelming A is like writing a novel, or scratch building an RC flying model. Were it not for my passion, these important milestones in my life would languish and often they keep getting bumped back in the cue of life and simmer on the back burner.

Being Tired: Sometimes a voice inside me whispers.... But I'm so tired, Percy. Why are you always cracking the whip...? Why don't we take a little nap... I have an idea... we can do it "later on?" The answer of course is because "Later on" never comes and you keep kicking the can down the road. So I sit down with my laptop, summon my muse, and just begin nudging those creative thoughts and put a log on the fire... and low and behold, the fog of lethargy begins to lift and the juices begin to flow. Often some of my best stuff comes as a result of forcing myself to get my butt in gear.

♥ The method you chose to break up your writer’s block.

When Proscratination on any level of task becomes evident, a red flag goes up in my mind. I roll up my sleeves and have at it. I know where Procrastination can lead having spent a lifetime plagued by its presence. Like the Nike commercial says, "Just Do it." Sometimes you have to settle for an outcome that is less than optimal, at other times you break the task down into manageable chunks, but what you can't do is let is simmer, smoke and sputter and stink up your life. So I just go to work on it.... maybe just do a bit today and a little more tomorrow, and eventually it gets done. As a matter of fact if you do a little each day or in a session here and a session there the job becomes much easier.

♥ A few brief comments about how well the method you chose worked for you. Did it work? Why or why not? What will you do next time writer’s block hits?

So when the red flag goes up or you feel tired, give the key to the "Die Hard Bunny" a couple of twists, point him in the right direction and follow the drum to see where its leading. It works.... I do it all the time.

Lesson Four – Noveling Exercise - Part 2 - Writing Prompts Using writing prompts is another way to get your writing going when you're in a slump Pick at least two writing prompts, either from an online resource or from a writing book or two, to use when you can't think of anything interesting for your characters to do or your plot is dragging. Try them out in one of your stories.

Post the following items in one static item or entry in your So You Want To Write A Novel! folder or book item.

♥ Where you found the writing prompts you used.

For those who have been exposed to my class, The Exploratory Writing Workshop (EWW), using prompts is a good way to teach but they are also a great technique for getting yourself to write. When the workshop is over the student has an outline with around thirty chapters named, with a few "Bulllets" thrown in. These are the prompts I use in writing a novel.

♥ How it jump-started your story.

I used to write using what a I call "The Boxcar Technique." I would write a chapter and then the next and so on. I learned a lot doing this but I was never satisfied with the way things wound up. Here at WDC many contests use prompts and I really liked using this technique and seeing where it led in shorter works. In designing the EWW I asked myself what are the minimum essential things a novel has to have. After reading half a dozen how to books I noted that they all had one thing in common. The first chapter sets up the story world and introduces the Central character. The second picks up the tempo and sets up a Life Changing Event, The third deals with the LCE and the effect it begins to exert on the POV character's life. Then there were the Three disasters one each in the three phases of a novel. Anyway this evolved into the Modus Operandi I use in writing novels and the approach I teach in the EWW.

♥ A few brief comments about how well using writing prompts worked for you. Did it work? Why or why not? What will you do next time your story gets in a slog?

So the thirty named chapters and some notes and bullets poked into each as my muse starts talking are all the prompt I need. It allows me to become very focused in writing a chapter sized chunk of prose. If one of the chapters turns into an Overwhelming A, then I simple go write another and sometimes that helps me see clearly what I need to do in a more difficult one.

Lesson Four – Writing Every Day One of the stumbling blocks all novelists sometimes fall over is not knowing what to write next, so they freeze up and stop writing. This week we are going to practice writing over the blocks – no matter what.

Amen to that! I write, moderate the EWW, work on my RC Model Airplanes or antique cars and in-between respond to my wife's Honey do list. Regardless of how harried I become I try and do a little bit in each area every day. I don't have a schedule but I juggle these tasks around so everything gets at leas some treatment every day. I'm a busy boy!

percy bob
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