Communicate with your characters
Don’t know how to finish a scene? You know it’s not working and you’re staring at your computer screen. There’s a white page staring back. You’ve started the scene and you have no idea where the characters want to go.
Ask them. Have a dialogue with one of your characters. Express to the character how your story is confusing. Listen to what the characters have to say back to you. Get all the characters talking to each other about the story. See what they have to say about the conflict. How do the characters feel about each other? How do the characters feel about themselves?
Writer’s block is created by trying the same thing over and over to move the story forward. Break down the wall and see what your characters tell you.
Writer’s Block vs. the Magical Pencil
Most writers today work with a keyboard. Most writers today did not learn how to write words with a keyboard. They learned to write by hand. And when we began to write by hand, this was our first memory of creative writing. Something deeply personal happens when we write with our hands. There is something humble and childlike about this action.
Computers are less personal than a pencil and paper. When we are trying to crack a story that is always personal to our audiences, consider picking up your scene by handwriting a version of it. Writing by hand happens at a different pace. It looks different on the page. You might find yourself momentarily without writer’s block once you write in a different way.
The Writer’s Block of the Reader: The Notes You Ignored
If you’re stuck with your script, perhaps it’s time you truly took the feedback you received. The feedback you thought was ridiculous and bad. If you’re now unable to write your script, doesn’t it make sense to review what someone said who couldn’t read your script?
The problems readers might have with our work obviously can help us clarify the direction we need to take in our rewrites. The problems we have with the readers who have problems with our script might help provide the solutions we require to avoid giving up on our story.
Writers tend to have ways to get things done. For as important as we are to something as creative as storytelling, we are often set in our ways. I knew a lot more about how to write a long time ago but I am a much better writer now. What happened? Along the way, I accepted how all writers write as valid and avoided anyone who claimed to know how to write a successful screenplay.
Be humble. Outline your broken script if you haven’t before. Stop outlining and sketch your characters with crayons if that’s new. Accept there is much to learn and know. Focus less on knowing how to write and you’ll find you’ll write like you know how.
These solutions to the complete frustration and despair of not having any idea what to do next with our work require an admission that we don’t have all the answers. Creating a classic story is formidable and embarrassing to achieve.
In the end, if you’re stuck and staring at that half-written scene, go back and retype the scene you love and you think is not broken.
Then you’ll know you’re not stuck at all and never were.
By: Gordy Hoffman
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