It’s just as well that this first Writing 101 blog post challenge says that we don’t need to worry about what we’re going to say, because I’m probably going to rant a bit.
You see, it’s about my writing.
I’ve got writer’s block.
When I first started this blog I had the idea of writing a space-opera but then I realised that I was out of my depth; I really had no idea how to write science-fiction and I had no background in or understanding of science. Then a while afterwards I discovered that everything I thought I knew was stuff that I’d taken out of context and almost certainly misunderstood.
So then I decided that what I really should do was commit to writing a blog post every day – that was back in January 2012. I found a website called Creative Writing Prompts and went at it. When people started liking my posts I went and visited their blog sites and discovered weekly challenges that they took part in, and also some cool looking badges. I took part in these challenges with some gusto, collecting some badges along the way.
One of the writing prompts was a photo of a train station in Belgium, all mist shrouded with people wandering about in a courtyard, the challenge was to write 33 words (it was a Trifecta writing prompt, sadly that weekly challenge site has been discontinued but it had a great community). After I wrote my 33 words, somebody wrote a nice comment suggesting that what I’d written looked like it could lead to something else, and I thought that was a great idea so from then on I tried to use every prompt that came up to generate a story which would link up to that post.
My plan was that every flash fiction post I wrote would connect together into something the length of a novella which then I could rewrite and expand into my first novel, and this epic would be called ‘The Shrouded City Chronicles’, a fantasy story. I even used some of the posts I wrote as part of the April A-Z challenge a while back.
In addition, I started using some of the prompts from various challenge to kick-start ‘The Wickes Chronicles’ which was a steam-punk inspired fantasy story. I even had a go at writing a Western comedy in this way and I’ve been writing some detective noir recently.
The great thing about writing in this way is that I never really know how the prompts will affect my overall story, or what characters might pop up. The disadvantage however is the flip-side of that; I can end up with too many characters and sometimes the prompts don’t fit the overall story that forms as a result of writing these posts.
Hence the writer’s block.
Take Shrouded City for example, loads of characters which I hadn’t really fleshed out. One or two of them had a voice but the others weren’t really solid. In addition, I killed one of them off too early, in a fit of pique. I’m going to have to kill of some others probably. I haven’t really challenged any of them yet either, and the main villain isn’t really a villain. There are also too many plot threads, and the story is becoming unwieldy. To cope with this, I wrote notes on what I’d written and formed a plan for weaving everything together in a way that would also resolve some major plot holes.
I want to finish writing this, and I need to finish the Wickes Chronicles as well. Then there are the other stories. There’s more I’ve written, from before I started blogging. There are other stories waiting to be written.
I’ve read so much about writing; there are so many helpful blog posts and websites, quotes etc. I know how to world build and how to use the snow drop method to write a story, and how to create character bios and give them a voice. I know how the hero’s journey or mono-myth is the most popular plot line I can use and that most stories follow this. I know that this can be bucked however; Frank Herbert bucked that trend with his Dune series apparently.
Still it’s a lot to take in and a lot to think about. I feel like my head is full to bursting with ideas and good advice and that it’s kind of blocking my mind up, like my mind is constipated with all this stuff (excuse the analogy but it’s the most accurate one I can think of).
Something needs to change, something needs unblocking somewhere so that I can write and finish everything I started; finish one of the books I started.