Sep 17

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I give great advice in this blog — but I just don’t always follow it.

Take for instance my most recent novel, I hit a “writer’s block” moment — a place where I simply didn’t know what came next. What I did know was what happened after the missing piece. I’ve written before that when you hit a point that you don’t know what happens next — but you do know what occurs beyond this point — don’t stop until you figure it out, go on and write what you do know. What you’re missing will either come to you as you go, or you’ll decide you didn’t really need the missing piece.

In one of my screenplays this happened to me and I simple wrote a line of dashes across the page and under it wrote something like, “…somehow they get back to town.” I then picked up the following scene I did know and continued on. As I wrote, it came to me how they got back to town because of something that happened in a following scene. Then I could go back and fill in the missing hole

Well, when this happened to me in my recent e-novel, I didn’t follow my own advice. I stewed a couple of days wondering how to bridge the gap. Finally, when nothing else worked, I picked up the story and went on, intending to do as I said and fill in the sink hole later. As it turned out, I didn’t really need what I thought I did. I ended up leaving out what I thought I needed so badly — and it helped move the story along not to have the missing piece.

So what am I doing here, trying to tell you how wonderful I am? No. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to do that — but it just ain’t true. I face the same problems we all face as writers. But, again, as I’ve pointed out in the past, nobody wants half or 3/4s of a short story, novel, or script. You’ve got to get to the end — get it finished or you’ll end up with nothing at all.

I’ve heard of one writer who collects blog posts, newspaper or magazine stories in a notebook which he rereads before he starts each new project. I’ve considered this and think it’s a good idea — and I’ve even collected a nice collection of material — the problem is as soon as I try to reread it, as soon as I see the title or the headline, I recall what I liked about the piece in the first place — and I skip it and move on to the next one.

Since there are no rules on how to write, figure out what works best for you out of all the advice you gather from as many sources as you can. You’ll discover, I think, that some of it will always be of value to you, but some of it will only apply to certain projects and to certain cases. But that’s the good thing about this whole process, you’re just as correct as anybody else — and your way is right for you — so don’t strain yourself trying to follow someone else’s path. Even writers who have sold millions and made millions don’t have all the answers. They, just like you and I, have to go figure this thing called writing out one day at a time — one project at a time.

Someday you’ll be your own expert — even if you don’t follow your own advice. Who cares? As long as you find a way to get from the beginning to the end and then move on to something else, whatever your way is — is the right way.

My advice is here for whatever it’s worth — but obviously it’s not always of much value — so glean what you can and want to — then go on about your work. You are the only one who can do it.

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