Deadline Diaries

Five Romance writers tell all.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Blogger has me baffled!

Posted by Maureen

Well, I already had my blog all set for today!

It was one that I had planned on posting last week, during our tiara discussion. So happily, I went on this morning to post that brilliant blog and upload the picture I had to go along with it, and Blogger wouldn't let me play.

That's right, our beloved web host refused to upload that picture. Now, I'm here to assure you, the pic was in very good taste, so there's no reason to think this was Karmic censorship or anything. But someone somewhere didn't want me posting that picture. So here I am, struggling to find something else witty and clever to say. Because it's my day here on DD and I cannot fail to post!

Which leads me to, hopefully, a point!

What do you do when your carefully laid out plans disintegrate?? Now, I'm not talking about life disintegration, we all go through that, and you tend to just muddle your way through. I'm talking about WRITING disintegration.

You've got your synopsis, you know your characters, you're pretty sure you know exactly where you're going in your story and all of a sudden...........NOTHING WORKS. Suddenly, you can see clearly that your synopsis, while being very entertaining, doesn't really add up to a full book!

Once I get over the mind numbing panic, I usually lunge for the phone and call either Susan or Kate and scream for help! With good writing friends on speed dial, I can talk out my plot holes, and with their help, I usually find my way out of the corner I've typed myself into. But when I can't get them on the line for whatever reason, I use another book to help me out. It's called THE WRITER'S BRAINSTORMING KIT. (I just tried to put a link up there, but Amazon says they're not available right now. So I suggest if you're interested, you go to the publisher, Gryphon Books).

Anyway, this book is amazing. It has character traits, plot complications and a handy deck of cards for you to select at random things that could be happening in your story to beef it up or push it back in the direction you wanted it to go.

So, that's me. What do you do to help yourself through those plotting chasms that seem to open up when you're least expecting them???


At 11:39 AM, Blogger Kate Carlisle said...

I'm sorry, that's never happened to me before.....bwahahahahahaaa *snort!* Whew, good one, Kate.

Actually, when that happens, I call Maureen! Which makes me a very lucky person since she's always there to throw a rope and pull me out of the muck. I think having friends to commiserate and brainstorm with is the best "tool" anyone can have.

After that, I go through every writing book and brainstorming tool on my bookshelf. I'll re-read sections of the Writer's Journey or the Archetypes book or I'll just sit down and read a good novel. Sometimes that's enough to change my mood and kickstart my brain back into gear.

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous kim said...

I am not an author, but I would have to say that in my profession (sales and marketing) Chocolate! Lots and lots of Chocolate. :)



At 11:49 AM, Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

So true. Calling a friend is the best medicine for stitching up those gaping plot holes.

I also like the "Write down twenty things that might happen in this book" technique. I mean, 20 things that I don't already have *planned* to happen. And no, I can't always think of twenty. But by eight or nine I usually come up with something that un-sticks me.

Also, I find when I get stuck it's often something one of the characters really needs to do that I didn't foresee that's going to screw up all my careful planning. You know, like, the heroine's sister is missing and I was so busy having the h/H deal with the baby the sister left on the sofa that I forgot, uh, duh, maybe the heroine really needs to find a way to, uh, *find* the missing sister....

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

Oh, yes. And Kim's so right.

Chocolate really helps, as well. :)

At 11:56 AM, Blogger Christie Ridgway said...

I have the Writer's Brainstorming Kit! Now I must unearth it from my office closet because I've used it before and it does really help. Also driving, or reading, or anything that's not about my own book.

In my previous life, a walk to the ladies restroom always helped when trying to figure out whatever was stumping me. Time away from the desk and the blank screen!


At 12:19 PM, Blogger Maureen Child said...

Kim--You're absolutely dead on. If chocolate can't fix it, it deserves to stay broken! long as we have each other to call and whimper to, we'll be good! LOL

Chris...God, what a great idea!! I love that, writing down things that could go wrong!

Christie--My copy of that book is always close at hand, LOL. But you're right. Getting out of the house is a good way to clear the mind, too!

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Christyne Butler said...

Hmmm...going to have to check out that brainstorming kit! :::copying/pasting:::

Me? I usually head to the shower if this happens to me at home. Nothing like soaking the 'ol noggin to unclog the brain cells.

While at work...I do what Christie says...head to the ladies room! Taking the long way (of course) with a pad of paper, a pen and sometimes a romance slipped between some folders (strictly inspiration, ya know!) What I love is the grin on my face as I head back to my desk when I finally figure something out!! My co-workers already think I'm nuts! LOL!


At 2:48 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Maureen, blogger does this with pictures. If the file is too big, or blogger has PMS, it won't upload it. Very frustrating!

The Brainstorming Kit sounds interesting!

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Maureen Child said...

Oooh, Jen, the brainstorming kit is faboo!! LOVE it! As to Blogger being cranky with pics...don't get it. Some days it's great, other days, nada. MUST get this book!! LOL........and sure your co workers think you're nuts. you ARE! You're a writer!!

And you know, the shower thing usually works for me too...not sure why. Not sure I should really investigate as to why. Just grateful it works!

At 6:36 PM, Blogger Susan Mallery said...

Oh, yeah, I know this one far too intimately. For me, when I get stuck it usually means I'm doing the wrong thing in the book and I'll stay stuck until I figure it out and start doing it right. Characters are very demanding that way.

Chocolate is always a good solution, for nearly every problem. Well, not feeling bloated, but otherwise, it's a good one.

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Gina Black said...

I go for a walk. Sometimes I talk outloud while I'm walking, as if I'm having a conversation. It helps, but people tend to give me a wide berth. ;)

Sometimes it's something obvious I just didn't see. Sometimes it's because I'm trying to go left when I should be going right. And sometimes I just need to get out and about and remember what the world looks like.

At 6:43 AM, Blogger Christine Rimmer said...

The world? There's a world...?

So true, Gina. That's the one I forget most often. I actually start believing it's just me and my imaginary friends--who refuse to do anything I have planned for them!


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