Friday, February 11, 2011

Fork In The Road

I've come to another fork in the road in my current WIP that's giving me fits.  Basically when this happens, I have two choices.  I can:

1) Take the path of least resistance; or
2) Take the least predictable path.

I choose number two because, really, who wants to create a plotline that the reader will spot from a mile away?

When the forks throw themselves in my road, I usually take a pause from writing, consume massive quantities of chocolate, followed by long runs on a treadmill.  I wish that it was more scientific (or organized) than that but it's just how I roll.  With each book I write, I always resolve to be more organized and make better outlines but, really, I just sit down at my laptop and pound away at the keys.

When I'm stuck, I find it helps to jot down ideas, even write a few pages of narrative/dialogue, just to see what it may look like in the story.  Doodling, weirdly, helps too as I try to work through the snag in my mind.  Finally, there's always storyboarding but, frankly, that feels too corporate.  There's something about a white board and the smell of those dry erase markers that fills my body with dread.  I'll stick with my unorthodox approach of doodling, chocolate, and running.  It hasn't failed me yet.

What do you do when you reach a snag with a project?  How do you work through it?

By the way, in case you didn't know, it's FRIDAY! T.G.I.F. Hope you get a chance to read lots of great books this weekend.  I just finished INSIDE MY HEAD, a YA by Jim Carrington.  Highly recommend.


Anonymous said...

What an eye-catching photograph!

I don't eat chocolate, but I do the treadmill for all kinds of snags. Whatever works, I say do it so you can keep pounding those keys. Like you, I think I should do outlines but then just sit and pound away.

Your book is on my list to read. I also like Jim Carrington. Thanks for the recommend. I've put that one on my list also!!
Ann Best, Author

Angelina Rain said...

I love learning how different writers go about their craft, I guess part o that is because I have yet to figure out what works best for me. Good luck on your new manuscript.

As for the weekend, I plan to almost unplug (with the exception of blogging) and get some reading done. I have three books to read and review for HEA reviews that I’m falling behind on and I want to finish reading Talli Roland’s “The Hating Game”, it’s a really good book but I barely have time to read it.

BTW, I’m living on my mother-in-law’s homemade coffee infused double chocolate and walnut brownies. Yum!

Maria Zannini said...

I sleep on it. For some reason, if I think on the problem before I go to bed, I usually wake up with a few good options when I wake up.

Beats staring at the monitor.

Lori Beth said...

My problem would be I would go for the chocolate and skip the treadmill. haha!

I'm not sure what works for me. I agree that sleeping on it, or stepping away can help. Also, it seems like I have lots of ideas while driving. I do a lot of picking up kids, taking to practice, etc, so I'm in the car alone a lot. Some of my best work comes from that solitary time. And actually, as crazy as it sounds, the characters usually tell me what to do. Non-writers look at me like I have three heads when I say that, but it's true. I am very character-driven and sometimes something like a conversation between two characters will just start flowing from my mind. I usually say it all out loud before typing it all out and this usually guides me. Hmmm I may have a blog idea swirling around.

Not sure what I'm reading this weekend. Luanne Rice's new one is at the top of my list right now.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Lori Beth's comment sounds eerily like what I was going to post!

My issue is that I have the character conversation walking my son to the bus and by the time I get back to the computer I've lost it. Need more brain power.

Donna Cummings said...

Liz, I've found that each book writes itself differently. LOL I always think, "Okay, NOW I know how to do it", but it's never the same. It's like studying for a test and they change subjects when I get there. LOL

I do agree that a pause is good, and I change venues, or drive, or do something non-writing related. I guess it gives my brain a chance to reboot!

Lori Beth said...

Heather- Sometimes I say it all out loud and record it on my phone when I'm in the car. That's a little easier than when you're walking, though. haha

I'm sure other drivers think I'm nuts or maybe they just think I'm talking hands-free to someone else.

Jean Davis said...

I'll take the smell of chocolate over dry erase markers any day.

When I'm stuck, I walk away from my computer and go do something else. The best solutions seem to hit me when I'm not directly thinking about the problem.

Danette said...

I like the chocolate thing! I reread my stuff, do some editing and stew over the spot I'm stuck in. I may try the chocolate thing though... any reason for more is my moto! (I can't believe I didn't think of that first!!!) And I support the fork less traveled or whatever that poem is... lol.

Linda Leszczuk said...

I pace. Preferably out of the room with the computer. And I try to get my characters talking, about anything, then steer the conversation in the direction of where I am in the story and listen to what they have to say. I also use my voice recorder to capture what I hear so I don't lose it before I get back to typing.

Liz Fichera said...

Who knew chocolate would have so many uses?!

Chocolate lovers, unite!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Liz,

LOVE the pic. I like the idea of eating tons of chocolate. I do too, but I don't run and need to!

When I get that fork in the road, I BLOG! It is such an incredible way to relax. I read great posts and learn more about our wonderful community.

Have a great weekend.


Nas said...

Hi Liz,

Great idea to eat tons of chocolate!

But I try to stop writing and concentrating and do some menial work and after an hour or so, I can write again!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Good choice on your fork. You'll be happier with self for picking the harder path. :)

Pauline Barclay said...

Loved this Blog and the way you sort out your Fork In The Road. I am having a mini breakdown with my editing. I have stopped, walked the dogs, cycled, drank copious amounts of tea and wine! I am getting there slowly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I hope you are back to bashing away at your laptop!