Tag Archives: writer’s block

New: Letters from Chalandris – and a plea for help

In my last post where I was questioning how to go about building my world, Sheryl Winters posted a great idea and I’m going to use it:

So, I will be introducing:

Letters from Chalandris

I’m not sure how to structure it yet, but I’m just going to write about Chalandris from the perspective of various characters, starting with minor characters first. I will create a new section on the website for these and post them for folks to read if they wish. They will be inconsistent for a couple of reasons. Some of the characters will be ‘unreliable narrators’, meaning that, for them, it will be more important to relate information in a way that benefits them personally than to tell the unvarnished truth. Think of how politicians act when they are fearful of being caught in a scandal and you’ll have a good idea of what that’s about. Another reason is that different characters will view the same people, places, and events differently, based upon their personal relationships, histories, prejudices, and other biases. Another thing that will create inconsistency will be that, as I continue this exercise, Chalandris itself will acquire greater breadth and depth as increasing levels of detail are fabricated, sometimes rendering previous installments obsolete. As this is a world-building exercise, it will rarely be productive to go back and edit previous installments to make them consistent on that basis. I will simply note the differences in my project notes and continue on.

To speed the process along, I’m going to do my best to write something every day and post the results on the following day. I’m going to treat each day as a firm deadline to try to develop some discipline that I have been lacking thus far. All writers go through periods when the words just don’t come. My reaction so far has been to whine to myself about it and focus on other things until the muse returns. This simply will not do. If I’m to make this a career I need to develop the discipline that will allow me to meet deadlines because, let’s face it: if some major publisher were to send me a contract today for a five-book deal providing say, five books in five to seven years, I’d be a fool to sign it. I just haven’t acquired the writing skills required to meet any reasonable deadlines and it’s just not fair to treat a publisher (or an agent, editor, etc.) in that fashion; very unprofessional. If I want this to be a career, then I must develop a professional-level skill set.

So, I’m going to ask you to hold me accountable. Keep my feet held hard against the fire. Pester the bejeezus out of me if I’m not posting on time every day (12:00 noon, US Eastern Daylight time {GMT -4}, weekends excluded). I absolutely need this. I know it, every one of you knows it, and I’m asking for help.

Thank you.

It’s that old, familiar feeling…

Writer’s Block.

The bane of every writer. For a lot of writers an outline helps, but not all writers can write to an outline and even an outline doesn’t mean you won’t end up dealing with it at some point. As for me, I found that an outline was essential when my first draft of my story (The Jezebel Diaries) hit a wall after I completed Chapter 6. I sat for a month trying to start Chapter 7, but I couldn’t think of a thing. For a whole month!

So, when I started this draft (Mortality, Interrupted), I knew I would have to write an outline to keep my plot from running into a dead-end. I got ten chapters into the outline when I was encouraged (in very strong terms) to quit working on the outline and start writing the story, so that’s what I did. I found that having an outline was very helpful. It enabled me to write with more confidence. I had a sense of certainty about the story. I knew where I was, I knew where the story was going, and I could see where the part i was writing fit in relation to the beginning and the end of the story. My writing really felt like it was clicking. I found, though, as I started to get further into the story, some of the details I was adding moved the story incrementally away from the outline. By the end of Chapter 3 I ended up with a detail that made perfect sense. It made perfect sense and totally fucked up my outline. And now I’m stuck. I’ll get through it, I’m sure. But I just have to find my way. I’m still new at this, but I’ll get there.

Thanks for listening…