Problems in the Second Act

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I’ve reached the point in the second act of Mama’s Gone that I find the hardest to deal with. It is usually the point where I experience what I call my writer’s block. Only this time I have responded differently to the previous few occasions.

In the past, I would have bailed from writing anything for two to four weeks, stuck in the quagmire if my own literary devising. You see the place I find stickiest is the moment when all that looks like it could go wrong has indeed gone wrong but there is no light at the end of the tunnel. All there is for the main character is a dark void of despair which happens to be in a tunnel into which light will eventually travel.

I stick because I’m never sure if I’ve over-egged the disasters befalling my characters and vacillate between thinking of gone too far and thinking that the complex web of disaster is in my head but that I haven’t managed to get the ideas into words on the page. So I freeze.

Typically, a few weeks later, I come to my senses, rejig a plot point and move on, racing to get to the finish because it’s all so very exciting. At least to me.

And what did I do differently this time? I just carried on writing, forcing myself to deal with the plot points I’d previously decided and stopped acting like a snowflake. I reminded myself of Anthony Burgess. Whether true or not, the story goes that someone asked him about his process as an author. I sit at my typewriter at 9 and finish at 5 every day.

He just got on with it. No more and no less. Sounded like a decent plan to me and, surprise, he was right. Of  course, this doesn’t mean it’ll work the next time I get stuck, but it sure as hell worked this time. Nice.

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