Posts Tagged ‘blog bonus feature’

This post goes out to all my fellow struggling writers out there…

Sometimes it happens. Authors find their creativity, sense of purpose, and vision has stalled out. (Believe me, I’ve been there.) And so I’ll devote this installment of the Jessie Mae Hodsdon Writing Guidebook to that very thing. How to win back excitement when writing has taken on a monotonous or overwhelming quality.

Blog Bonus Feature: I consider creativity a gift. A treasure of immeasurable price. And so, when it threatens to disappear–being swallowed up by the busyness of life or the pressure of deadlines–I fight back. Because I refuse to let imagination slip out of my life. Don’t give up, struggling, starving, drained artists. Please. Don’t give up.

#63: Recognize that the Halfway Point is Hard.

Anticipate that inspiration will dry up around the 1/3 or 1/2 mark of your novel. The initial excitement over the characters has run its course; you have established your setting; and the basic plot is well in hand. Now what? Whether or not you outline, there comes a point of uncertainty. The best way to deal with it is to expect it. Then you won’t be discouraged when it arrives.

#47: There is Value in a Break.

I want to start this entry by offering a warning. Just as breaks have the potential to bless, they also have the potential to curse. If you make them purposeless (ie not writing, reading, or daydreaming anything), they could destroy your rhythm. Instead, take a purposeful break from your story by reading multiple novels, watching movies, and doing something unrelated but creative. (Your probably already know what that creative thing is. Maybe you like to cook or play guitar or draw. You get my drift…) This will stimulate new creativity inside of you and, before long, you will find the old passion for your story returning

#81: Minor Characters have the Potential to be Awesome.

I’ll assume you are familiar with Frozen. Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff are incredible main characters, but really… where would the movie have been without the trolls? Not far. Kristoff would have been a little less loveable. Anna wouldn’t have gotten the push to accept her feelings. And the essential clue/moral of the movie would have been lost. Not to mention the trolls (especially Grand Pabbie) added flair and spice to the story. The minor characters gave background to a major character (Kristoff), direction to the writer, plot clues to the movie watcher, and color to the story.

I’m a big fan of secondary characters. (And I’ll admit, sometimes I carry them a little too far.) But minor characters, being able to sustain eccentric personalities you could never get away with for main characters, have limitless potential. When your writing has stalled, turn your focus from the main characters you know so well and let your mind tool on the minor characters. Perhaps you will discover background, direction, plot clues, and color too.

If you have other ways to deal with the stall-out point of a novel, let me know in the comments! Best wishes in your writing endeavors,

Jessie Mae

(See my previous posts about the Guidebook here and here.)

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It has been a full day of catching my breath. From blissful hours spent reading to actually enjoyable editing (editing? fun? who knew?) to mindless Internet research on topics my strange little brain finds interesting, my inner-introvert has been thoroughly coddled. And I am better for it.

The weekend was busy to new dimensions. Highlights include a family viewing of Inside Out, an accidental Carnival experience, and being carted across a muddy stream on my brother’s piggy back ride. In between Father’s Day fishing, my International Sister’s brief homecoming, and massive technical glitches during practice at church (PS. service itself went quite perfectly), I have lost all ground on besting my coffee addiction, earned “kiss-face” from my niece (hint: it’s very slobbery), finished one of the most confusing books I will ever read, and managed to fit in at least seven hours of sleep each night. What more could a girl ask for?

Not much, I’ll tell you. Not much.

Blog Bonus Feature: I’m currently working to build a believable backstory for a character. She/He (I won’t tell you which) is changing sides in a war. As an author who wants the character to still be lovable (otherwise the betrayal will feel cheap or anticlimactic), I am finding this to be a new kind of challenge. I’ll keep you posted and hopefully learn a few things I can share with my fellow writers.

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