Unblocking Writer's Block
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 9:00AM
Gordon Massie in Gordon Massie, creative writing, deathrap dungeon, fiction author tips, ian livingstone, steven jackson, warlock of firetop mountain, writer's block, writing tips

Over the past few months, James and I have been busy brainstorming elements for many books, including our Shifters series. I must admit, I've struggled with writer's block at times. However, as Jaime Vendera has pointed out time and time again, "writer's block doesn't exist; you're either inspired or bored." I've meditated on this statement for weeks now and realized that I was indeed inspired during the writing of the Crisis Trilogy (Crisis Artifact, Chaos Pendulum, Catastrophe Scroll). It was a breeze because we already knew the layout of the story from beginning to end across all three books. That was due to the fact that the Crisis Trilogy was a fantasy we'd played out in our minds since we were kids.

Shifters on the other hand, is a brand new story following the life of a young man named Devin Podrick, which we met in Order of 5ive Season One Episode Zero: Origins. I've struggled with elements of Shifters even when James pushed me through our brainstorming sessions. I thought I had writer's block, but it was merely boredom, due to my controlling nature. I am a person who likes to see the entire story before I begin writing it.

Realizing my own flaw of wanting to see the story from page one to the end of the book, I've developed the boredom factor during our recent project, sparring with my own creative consciousness to see the end of the book and flip through the pages in between even before it was written, inhibiting my creative flow. Typically, our chapter by chapter, bullet point by bullet point layout works wonders for our writing, allowing each of us to take a chapter and knock it out in record time. Trying this approach with Shifters, when we weren't even sure where the story was going, and feeling like we had to know every detail before the writing process began, sent me into creative mental roadblocks left and right.

After a few weeks of sad, sad story lines, James suggested that I let go of my controlling nature and allow the book to unfold, just like watching a movie. After all, 711 Press is about watching movies on paper and Kindle. So, we decided to write a chapter at time without our trypical bullet point approach. I wrote chapter one, let it unfold based on loose notes, then handed it off to James, let him write a chapter, and so on, passing it back and forth each time a chapter was finished. (We have extremely similar writing styles.)

This approach reminded me of the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" books like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Deathtrap Dungeon by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. I loved these books because you lead the story by your choices. As you read through the book, you were asked to choose where to turn next after you read a section of the book. You never knew where you'd end up or when the adventure would end. Because of our new approach,  I became inspired once again and, with the curious mind of a child, anticipated where James would take me for the next chapter. As I said, we continued this for every chapter of the book and I could not be happier with how Shifters unfolded into an adventure as amazing as the Crisis Trilogy.

My point in this blog is to let other writers know that I now believe that writer's block is a fallacy. As Jaime says, "You're either inspired or bored." Which path you choose is entirely up to you. If you're as controlling a writer as I am, try letting go for once, writing a chapter and not worrying about where the story goes. Don't lead it; let it lead you. Just be happy you're along for the ride. Be excited, be curious, wonder where your thoughts will lead you, without trying to contol the outcome. You'll be blown away by the creative path your mind follows, and in the end, you may end up with a creative work far surpassing what you originally imagined.

Article originally appeared on Movies & TV in Book Form! (http://711press.com/).
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