Saturday, December 4, 2010

Writer's Block

Writer’s block. That terrible, but common, phenomenon that hits all of us on occasion. I’m very skeptical about the writer who says she has so many ideas she won’t live to see them all come to fruition. Maybe. Maybe not. My guess is that writers have notions, rather than actual ideas. For example, I’d like to write about Irish travelers, ancient Egypt, Ruth and Naomi, all notions or subjects rather than plot lines with fleshed out characters and conflicts.
Sometimes writer’s block lasts for a few days, sometimes a few weeks, rarely more than that unless a serious, is this what I really want to do with my life occurs. My blocks happen when I approach the the middle of a story, when the flush of the dramatic beginning is over, before the climax and resolution. For me, this is chapter 9. Chapters 1 through 8 are a breeze, introducing characters, the hint of the problem, the rising action, and the roadblocks to the character reaching his goal. I can easily type my way to chapter 9 without an outline. But then it happens, the what next or what if stage that only deep thought, much discussion, more research, lots of reading and many discussions with my critique group remedy.  
The resolution is another challenge for me. I tend to like realistic resolutions, those that might actually happen. My agent constantly reminds me, “This is fiction, Jeanette. We mustn’t disappoint the reader.” Of course, she’s right... I think. I wonder if readers really want a fantasy ending. Personally, I find inspiration when an ending mirrors my own experience or that of others I know rather than the Hollywood ending. I suppose reality doesn’t sell books ...I think.


  1. Where do you get all of your ideas?

  2. By Irish travelers do you mean gypsies? What is the Irish term? I always forget it.

    Also, thanks for the supportive comments about us left-handers in your last blog. We are an under-appreciated group!

  3. Yes, travelers are gypsies also known as itinerants or tinkers. The less politically correct term and the way they refer to themselves is "pavee."