Writer’s Block Is Not The End

Writer’s block. Feared and mocked and denied and suffered, it happens. It can be debilitating. But writer’s block is not the end. Some writers say they don’t believe in writer’s block. Carpenters don’t get carpenters’ block. And surgeons don’t get surgeons’ block (thank goodness!) So writer’s blocked is “made up” or “an excuse.” I thought that, too. Yet, I’ve experienced writer’s block. And I’m not alone. Many, many writers have experienced writer’s block. What Is Writer’s Block? It’s nothing–and everything. It’s one writer’s block. Particular to each individual writer and their lives, writer’s block reflects their life challenges, their fears, and the lies they tell themselves. There’s a wall, a giant brick, unscalable wall between the creator and the words. You face the blank page or the blank screen and the words won’t come day after day after day–that’s writer’s block. For some, it is momentary–minutes or hours in length. For others, it’s temporary–days or weeks. There are some who find writer’s block to be chronic and debilitating for months or years. The words. WON’T. Come. What Causes Writer’s Block? All kinds of things–most involve fear. Fear that the writing isn’t good enough. The writer may be afraid that the […]

Create Strong Obstacles to Make A Super Story

Stories need structure. You don’t have to outline your story but the structure must be there. One of the essential pieces of story structure is the story obstacle or antagonist. As a writer, you know you need a strong obstacle to make a super story, but how does that work on paper?  The Power of the Goal and Problem Your character’s goal and his problem must be powerful enough to engage your reader for the length of the story. Thus a short story problem is short and simple. A novel-length story problem is longer and more complex. And a series of novels have even more complex story problems.  How do you know your story problem is strong enough for a novel? The answer to that question is in your story structure.  Your story starts in the protagonist’s normal world. He has a goal but hasn’t pursued it for internal reasons. If he achieves his goal without difficulty, you have no story. Enter the obstacle or opposition. The obstacle can be one or many things. It can be internal. It can be physical disabilities or challenges. Environmental things such as distance or weather can be an obstacle. Or the obstacle can […]

Do You Know The Secrets of Successful Story-writing?

Yes, there are secrets to successful story-writing but don’t worry, the recipes aren’t hard. The ingredients are classic and simple. The directions aren’t difficult. The execution…well, that part’s up to you. Let’s start with the basic M-R unit. Story equals change…equals cause and effect… equals motivation and reaction. —Dwight V. Swain The Motivation-Reaction Unit Remember the Because-But-Therefore statement I talked about in Because There are Lies, Secrets, and Scars? Now we’re digging deeper into that concept.  The M-R Unit is the creation of Dwight V. Swain and discussed in his book, Techniques of the Selling Writer. The writer who understands the M-R unit will write a successful story. Success may not come in the first draft. But if you understand the M-R unit, you understand one of the secrets of successful story-writing.  In his book, Swain says, “External events have no meaning in themselves, no matter how bland or how violent they may be….They aid in story development only as someone has feelings about them and reacts to them.” Cause and Effect That external event in a story causes the character to have a reaction. Swain calls the event, or cause, a motivating stimulus. The cause, or motivating stimulus,  is […]