Writing Corner: On Struggling With Writer’s Block

Hi everyone! I know I’m cutting it a little fine with this month’s Writing Corner, but hey, it’s still August until tomorrow (also is it just me or has August been going on forever?). I was originally going to talk a little bit about TINALS sequel in this post, but I’ve not really had time to work on it over the last month and I’m going to be more focused on editing TINALS than I am on writing the sequel when I do get back to writing because I felt like I was on a roll with that before I started my summer job and I’d really like to continue and try and get my next round of revisions completed relatively soon. But anyway, enough about TINALS, since that is not the writing project that I’m going to be talking about today. No, today I’m talking about my other writing project, Underground Magicians, which I’ve kind of been taking an extended break from, because of the reason in the title: I have writer’s block.

I know a lot of authors that I admire have said that they don’t believe in writer’s block and that it’s just a case of finding your way through and I would love to believe that this is true, but honestly I genuinely feel like I have hit a brick wall with this project and I just don’t seem to be able to work my way out. I thought that taking a break from it might help and that I might feel inspired by something and go back to it, but that hasn’t really happened.

It’s definitely not that I don’t feel passionate about the project, I love my weird little underground tunnels book and the fact that I love this story and these characters so much is making it all the more infuriating that I can’t seem to find my way through this block.

For a little background, I started writing Underground Magicians last year, and it was my NaNoWriMo project. I wrote the first five chapters, then I found myself getting a little stuck. Thankfully I had an idea of where I wanted the story to end, so I left the start of the story where it was, and then jumped to the end and wrote the last 3-4 chapters & the epilogue. This was unusual for me, because I usually write chronologically, I did that with TINALS, with all of my fanfics and with everything I wrote when I was younger but since I knew how I wanted the story to end, I figured I would write the end and work my way back from there.

However, things haven’t quite worked out the way I wanted them to! I didn’t really suffer from any of the problems of not having a detailed outline when I wrote TINALS, because for the most part, the story flowed quite naturally. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone back and made quite a lot of edits since them, some of them quite major, but the base structure of the story was easy enough to get down. With Underground Magicians, for some reason or another though, whilst I know how the story starts and I know how it ends, I have no idea how many characters get from point A to point B.

Since NaNoWriMo last year, I’ve written three more chapters of the story, meaning I have eight chapters for the start and then 3-4 + the epilogue for the end, but now I’ve kind of stalled. I know basic plot points that need to happen in order to get Sophie and Mo where I need them to be at the end, but I don’t know how to string those plot points together!

The basic idea behind Underground Magicians is that Sophie (my main character) gets sucked into this world of Underground tunnels after she discovers that she has magic and then alongside her new friend/later love interest Mo (female character, this story has a f/f romance) she has to figure out why the tunnels keep moving and their friends keep disappearing, so the structure itself is very simple. I think the problem that I’m having, is that because the plot is relatively straightforward, I’m struggling to think of ways to make it exciting and I feel like a lot of what probably needs to happen between now and the ending is filler and maybe that’s why I can’t really think of what to write? Filler has never been my forte, I like the action packed stuff! I also get random ideas of things that I want to happen later on in the story and they will fit, but then I will have the same problem that I’ve been having so far, how to get to those things!

Also because I’ve never really suffered from writer’s block before, I don’t really know how to work my way through it! I thought that taking a step back from my project might help me, but honestly it just feels like I’ve been ignoring the problem. I thought about sitting down and writing out the plot that I have of my story so far and trying to work my way backwards to the point where I’ve got stuck but I’m worried that I’ll just get down what I’ve got so far and not be able to string together the rest of it.

I really don’t want to give up on this story, because I’ve really enjoyed writing what I have written so far and I want to see it completed, but at the moment, I’m not really quite sure how to proceed. I don’t want to force it, because I don’t think that will be helpful, but just waiting for ideas to come hasn’t really been that helpful for me either.

It’s just so frustrating because I was on such a roll with this book and was feeling so good about it and now I just feel like I’ve completely stalled out. I reckon this book could be really great if I ever manage to finish it, it’s just trying to get there that I’m struggling with. I have been doing great on editing TINALS, so it’s not like everything in my writing life is a total loss, but it’s hard not to feel like a bit of a failure when you can’t seem to make your other book work!

So I guess basically what I’m saying is that I need advice! Writers out there, how have you got over writer’s block? Have you ever got stuck with the middle of your book? What have you found to be the best way to work your way through it? Let me know in the comments!

I’m aiming to have another one of these up again next month-the idea is that I will hopefully do one of these a month for the rest of the year, so I should have four more of them before the year is out, though I don’t know what they will be about! If you are a writer and you would like to be featured in this series, then contact me on Twitter, @iloveheartlandX.

I don’t know what I will have for you soon, I am hoping to finish Tower of Dawn in the next few days, though that might be a little overoptimistic of me, but I will definitely have a review of that up sometime in the near future and of course a new Top Ten Tuesday post on Tuesday.


6 thoughts on “Writing Corner: On Struggling With Writer’s Block

  1. I wrote a novel by writing the ending and then the beginning and then I wasn’t sure what the middle would be! I actually put both halves together with a brief stitching chapter and got a quite short story and then just fleshed out what I’d already written to make it 60k. It helped that I needed some extra bulk in the first half for the second to make sense though ๐Ÿ˜‚

    • iloveheartlandx 01/09/2018 / 9:00 pm

      Well I’m glad to see it can be done! Hopefully I manage to get over the block and find a way to sew the two halves of my story together as well ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. KB Schollenberger 01/09/2018 / 2:08 pm

    I get stuck with my projects all the time! I have so many projects, though, that when I get stuck on one I just hop over and work on a different one. Not the most efficient system, I know, but then I’m not a full-time writer; I just write for fun. I like to think long and hard about my books before I begin them, figuring out the entire plot, but I rarely actually tease out the whole thing and end up getting stuck in the middle. ๐Ÿ˜›
    I would suggest two things: put aside your project for a longer time (like, a couple months)โ€“your brain will be working on it unconsciously. Or just start writing something about your characters or the world they’re inโ€“a scene you have in your head, more information. Just something related to the project. I don’t know if this helps, but I hope you get through your writer’s block soon!

    • iloveheartlandx 01/09/2018 / 8:55 pm

      Glad to know I’m not the only one. I have three projects ongoing at the moment, so I have been hopping between the other two (both related) whilst I’ve been stuck on this one. I am also not a full time writer-though I would like to be one day! Ah see I am a total impulse writer, as soon as I have an idea, I usually just start writing it and see where the wind takes me. It worked for my last project, not so much for this one! Thank you for the tips, I will definitely give them a go and see if they help ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Brooke Lorren (@Brookelorren) 02/09/2018 / 9:17 pm

    I guess I’ll tell you my writer’s block story.

    On January 7th, 2016, I posted my first chapter of Like Normal People up onto AO3. I thought that it would be about 10 pages. I wrote on that story until around February, where I got stuck. I had to write a chapter where the characters go mountain climbing, and I had no clue about writing about that. I was moving at the time too. Forgot about the story until this February. Wrote 8 more chapters and then got stuck. I was bored with the chapter, but I couldn’t just skip over it to the good stuff (I already knew the ending) because I needed it for character development.

    I got involved in other projects, because I didn’t want to stop writing. Wrote 2/3 of another novel, wrote 2 novellas, and wrote 2/3 of another novel. As you can see, I’ve been a writing fiend this year. I just couldn’t figure out how to write chapter 22 of Like Normal People. Even more frustrating was that I knew the book was going to be 25 chapters long. So close, but so far away.

    Anyway, I made it my goal in August to finish that story. About mid-August, about all I could do when I looked at the story was read the chapter and highlight stuff.

    August 20th, I finished writing the chapter. I finished the rest of the book in less than a week.

    So maybe keeping it in the back of your head while working on whatever is inspiring you is the best way to go sometimes. Good luck finishing you project!

    • iloveheartlandx 03/09/2018 / 10:58 am

      Thanks! Hopefully that will work, at the moment I am focusing on editing the project that is finished, because it will probably be the one that I send out to agents, so I have time to let the other one brew for a bit, hopefully when I do get back to it, I’ll be feeling more inspired! Thanks for sharing your writer’s block story ๐Ÿ™‚

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