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Planner, Plotter, and…Hostage?

The last update I shared I had been busily planning, plotting and preparing my crazy life for two intense days of writing. For all intents and purposes, my schedule was cleared, my intentions made known to my family, and I was prepared to be typing away with a big, stupid smile on my face. My life cooperated. My characters did not.

I sat down with everything ready to go and proceeded to stare at my computer screen. All the “brilliant” ideas my characters had been feeding me dried up and died 10,000 deaths. I tried to make sense of the cacophony of voices in my head, each one louder than the last, each vying for my attention. Unable (or unwilling) to do anything, I was afraid to “upset” a character by choosing one direction over another. That’s when it happened, I became a literary hostage. Each character more insistent that their story direction was best and if I chose wrong the story would be over before it started. That’s a lie of course, but on Tuesday I believed it.

For the better part of the day, I was bound by fear of choosing the wrong path and listening to the wrong character. So I sat there wasting those precious planned hours of writing and then went on a cleaning spree (God help my family). In retrospect, it was the best thing and the very worst thing I could have done. It was for the best because I was forced to dig deep and make some hard choices…”scared” choices. It was the worst thing simply because now I’m mourning those hours when words should have been leaping onto the page.

Eventually, I did get a good amount of writing done, but this literary hostage situation was a new one for me. Now to see what I can do so this doesn’t happen again…

Have you ever been in a similar situation? What did you do to get through it and prevent it from happening again?

Update 1/10/19: As of today, the words are flowing and the characters are cooperating to the best of their scandalous abilities.

9 thoughts on “Planner, Plotter, and…Hostage?”

  1. I do…. something else. And I don’t regret the time not spent writing, because I’ve learned that when I feel that way, and go do something else, it tends to untangle things – and the words will come in a lovely flow when they come.

    Sounds like the same thing has happened to you.

    I’ve actually started to look at it as part of the process. I have a few games I play specifically when I feel things are getting jammed up. They’re mostly pattern and sequence games with no story involved, so different parts of my brain are working hard, and the story kind of simmers away in the background.

    It sometimes takes a few days, but it always works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s nice to hear from others who have dealt with this, writing issues can be lonely. I love your idea of pattern and sequence games- absolutely brilliant! Going to give my brain something else to chew on and see if my subconscious can’t work thought this next time. Thanks for the tip!

      Like

  2. When I have this situation (and I often have…. have even had it a bunch this week), I either do something else or I just write out ALL the possibilities in a list form. Eventually the mind and the characters come back to a preferred path and we all get together and move the story forward. And sometimes I end up with a few versions… the one that X character believed and the one that Y character believed.

    Because, they both can be true.

    I’m glad you found your own path through this mire. It’s actually a cool place to be once you get used to it showing up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t thought of using this dilemma as part of the story, thank you!!! You’re absolutely right, they both CAN be true. Next time this happens I’m pulling this out of my hat to try. My mind is reeling with why I don’t think of this. Is it weird I hope this ”hostage situation” happens again?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When my characters aren’t cooperating, I write something else- a post, a poem, etc. It makes my characters jealous, and they slowly start to behave.

    I’m glad the words are flowing again. Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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