“Hello. I’m the first line of your novel.”

Edinburgh Expeditions

Last week, whilst at a Jazz festival with friends, I was hit with a line, a phrase, a sentence. Somehow it managed to stick in my mind, mutating, growing, digging itself into the part of my brain that ought to be reserved for PHP and PHP alone.

“Hello,” it said to me after six days of maturation. “I’m the first line of your novel.”

“Nice to meet you,” I said. “Tell me about yourself, future novel.”

“I’m chick lit. Or at least more female-focused-fiction than you’re used to, Ms. John-le-Carre-and-Patrick-O’Brian-are-my-favourite-authors.”

This is where I spat out my tea and wondered if my painkillers were a lot stronger than my GP said they were (swing dancing accident–water, concrete and two enthusiastic lindy hoppers don’t mix particularly well. I didn’t break anything, thankfully).

Nope, they aren’t. It’s just the story that needs to be told.

I haven’t been able to write fiction for months, not since I arrived in Edinburgh. Whether it was the change of scenery, the stress of coursework or a general reprogramming of the brain, fiction slipped to the backburner in favour of my recording everyday life, the adventures and the misadventures.

Turns out, though, that my opening line, combined with fodder from my day-to-day-life would make for a potentially hilarious, snarky and above all, entertaining book on life and love in the 21st century. Or some other cliche. Regardless, I’m excited to start writing…but why does the Muse need to return when I’m up to my ears in coursework?

No end in sight. A bit of a problem for short stories.

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Do you need to know where you’ll end up before starting your journey?

No, I’m not philosophizing. I’m planning.

I’ve come up with a few ideas for short stories, but I don’t know how to end them. A wee problem, eh? I’m afraid to start writing, as I want these stories to be short. Maybe flash length. Gershdernit.

Short stories, fairy tales and writer’s block

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

They’re slipping from my fingers. Plots, characters, dainty ideas and robust ones. Try as I may, I fear that I cannot hold onto them, or bend them to my will.

As The Continent is still in its planning phases, I decided to work on some short stories and maybe some flash fiction (stories under 1000 words). But as I put my pen to paper, I have nothing.

Could it be that I’m just out of practice? Despite writing daily for over a year (not to mention those years through high school and early college), I haven’t composed much in terms of completed stories, only the novel and three quarters of a rather blah fan fic. I need practice with pulling together a tight story. Why does my Muse abandon me like this?

On the plus side, I’ve decided to do “research”, otherwise known as reading a whole lot, and hoping that some good comes of it. There’s no one quite like Ray Bradbury when it comes to short stories.

Blogger’s block

General Geekiness, The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Ironically, I just posted an entry on writer’s block. Never thought I’d get blogger’s block so quickly afterwards.

So what am I doing? Looking for info on the Highlander remake penned by the Iron Man writers. Not coming up with anything new. Also reading bad fan fiction. Maybe I’ll go and write bad fan fiction.

On a happier note, I found my copy of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.  I forgot how much I loved that book. Now I’m drawing random characters who may or may not make an appearance in Nerds Have More Fun. Which I drew the first story of today. So sometime next week it will be posted (no scanner).

I forgot how out of practice I am with drawing action poses.

On writer’s block

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

O fiend, o devil, o cursed beastie!

Writer’s block was the bane of my existence, until I learned how to engage the wild beast. Not tame it, as it still gets the better of me, but I find that I can best it often enough.

What do I do to stave it off? Well, when the beast attacks, I try talking to it. I just put pen to paper and write. Sometimes it isn’t fiction or a part of my story. Sometimes I just write words on paper, in order to trick the little devil.

Other times I just yell, listen to music, read a book, watch TV or have a cup of tea. Miraculously, the nasty little beastie goes away. Behold the power of a good cup of tea.

There’s a very physical side to writing that I find needs to be dealt with. If you find you can’t write on your computer, back away from the keyboard and pull out a pen and paper. Writing is more akin to art this way (in the visual sense), and using the different muscles just feels better.

What do you, dear readers, do to destroy Writer’s Block?

Together we can vanquish this beast.