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Thursday, 28 January 2016 01:54

Writer's Limbo - Incubation Stage or Writer's Block?

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I’m currently in that wonderful, awful, exhilarating, anxiety-ridden phase of choosing a plot for my next novel.  

I experience this incredible mix of feelings before every new book I start – can’t decide what I want to write about, nothing excites me, etc, etc.

In the past I’ve tried starting with an interesting character. I have whole lists of characters I love and hate. But for some reason that doesn’t work for me. I do better when I start with an idea or an intriguing question.

But why does it take me so long to find one? Assuming for a moment I’m not just lazy and haven’t lost my passion for writing, what else could cause this perennial problem?

What first excited me about writing Run To Me was the idea for the story: a woman everyone dismissed as crazy saves the life of a child in danger. That was my original premise, my intriguing 'what-if'. That’s what set me on fire creatively and made me want to write the book.

That’s the kind of fire I’m looking for now!

What I want isn’t just a plot that ‘works’ but an idea that keeps me awake at night. Something that makes me jump out of bed in the morning and run to the computer to see what comes next.

Am I demanding too much? Putting too much pressure on my feeble brain? I don’t think so. I believe what I’m after - that fire, that excitement - is worth searching for.

So for now, let’s not call it writers block. Let's just call Writer’s Limbo.

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  • Comment Link Diane Hester Saturday, 06 February 2016 01:53 posted by Diane Hester

    Great to see you back again, Gina. You're starting your 4th crime novel I see. I imagine the process might be slightly different for you as you're writing a series and already have your cast of characters. Does that make it easier or harder I wonder?

  • Comment Link GIna Amos Friday, 05 February 2016 06:11 posted by GIna Amos

    Diane, I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog. I'm exactly in the place you are now.

  • Comment Link Diane Hester Thursday, 28 January 2016 21:51 posted by Diane Hester

    Yes, I do tend to force the issue at times. (Story of my life!) And, yes, I've gotten plenty of ideas out of the blue. But they don't always grab me enough to spend a whole year of my life writing about them. It makes me wonder if the excitement I feel for an idea is the result of more than the idea itself. EX: when I'm feeling good about my writing (when I've just had a story accepted or a contest win) I get heaps of ideas and they're all brilliant! But when I've received a string of rejections I tend to look at one of my ideas and think, 'that's crap, that'll never work.' So I wonder, how much of our creative energy stems from how we feel about ourselves and our ability?

  • Comment Link Jim Krehbiel Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:48 posted by Jim Krehbiel

    I find I get my best ideas for stories when I'm not trying so hard. When I try to come up with something, inevitably it feels forced. However, when I simply let my mind wander or just observe people and happenings around me, something pops into my head. And often, it can be the most innocuous thing that leads to that "spark." I never seem to know where that "seed" will come from but I have discovered that patience, for me, is paramount!