The Novel Approach – Overcoming the Wall
There comes a time in every novel’s life where it doesn’t want to be written. It feels like I run into The Wall every few weeks. I try to write a chapter a week, and I often lose the battle to laziness and writer’s block more often than I would like to admit. I’ve found a few things that might be able to break through that wall
Go Back to the Drawing Board
Or, if you’re not a planner (like yours truly) go to the drawing board for the first time. Even if you just write the main plot points, getting it on paper can organize thoughts and make it easier to puzzle out those slippery plot steps.
If you do plan things out beforehand, running through your plan again can get the juices flowing. It also gives you the opportunity to iron out any inconsistencies you may run across.
Take a Break
It’s not the end of the world if you do. Watch a movie. Read a book. Bake. Draw. Even write something different. As long as it has nothing to do with your novel, you’ll be fine. Sometimes we’ve obsessed about one set of ideas for too long and need to think about other things for a while to as a kind of restart. Often if I go do something else for a while, I’ll come back with ideas that will make the storyline even better.
Talk it Out
Whether it’s a friend, your mom, or a teddy bear, tell someone about your novel. Even though they may think it’s for their own good, it’s really going to help you. Having to communicate to someone else the ideas floating around in your head will force you to think about them and organize them in a way that can be understandable to more people than you alone. You can judge how good or bad some ideas are by their reaction too.
But Listen Too!
As much as we want to keep our story to ourselves, other people have good ideas too. The best plot hole repairer I know is my own mother. I’ve often gone to her with complaints about sticky spots in my projects.
However, this also goes for books and movies you’re reading and watching. It’s okay to be inspired by something already published as long as you make it your own. Always be on the lookout for elements you admire and what to use in your own novel.
Skip to the Next Part
This is a totally viable option. The rough draft is rough for a reason. If you’re having trouble with a scene skip it and move on to the next one. Just make sure you don’t do this too much, and when you do, always leave a note to go back and fill in the hole.
So next time you’re beating your head against a wall, try one of these wall breaking techniques. I’ve used them all many a time. Now get to writing!