Are you staring at a computer screen with no idea what do or what to write? This is often called Writer’s Block, but I think it should be called “Feeling Stuck Because Your Character’s Won’t Talk to You.” Your characters do, after all, run the show.
Here are two tricks to get back in touch with your characters.
Writer’s block: When your imaginary friends won’t talk to you. (I want this T-Shirt so badly).
Take a break
The first trick to getting rid of Writer’s Block is to take a break. For example, here is a conversation I sometimes need to have with my characters when I have Writer’s Block:
Hello, characters? Yeah, it’s me: your creator. I’m feeling a little stuck right now. Can you take over for a little while? Hello? Are you in there? Ugh. Fine.
When that happens, I walk away, do something else for a while that involves minimal thinking skills (such as playing simple video games or watching TV), then I come back and let my characters take over. If that still doesn’t work, I’ll do this.
Interview your characters
Yes, that’s right. I want you to interview your characters. Ask them questions. What are their families like? What are their hobbies? Who are their best friends Who are their greatest enemies?
I think you’ll be surprised how much you can learn from your characters from their answers. You didn’t know Lila had a long-lost sister? How could you have missed the fact that Billy’s father wasn’t dead, but MIA? That was because you were out of touch with your characters. What a perfect time to reconnect. (Check out the interview I recently had with the protagonists in the current story I’m writing).
How about you? What do you do to let your characters take control?
For this Practice, I want you to get in touch with your characters.
Interview them, talk to them, listen in on conversations they’re having with your other characters. Then let them write something for fifteen minutes. After you’re done, post your Practice in the comments. Have fun!