Archive for April, 2018

What To Do for Writer's Block Article About Writing Better


Thursday, April 26th, 2018
William H. Coles

All literary fiction writers have problems with productivity related to ability and individual writing strategies. Writer’s block is a common term but it really doesn’t define a specific problem or suggest a consistent or dependable way to solve and proceed. The symptoms can be devastating—staring at a blank screen or page jilted by inspiration with quashed creativity. Here are famous authors' solutions that might just squiggle your own path, for better or worse, to recovery.

*Maya Angelou: “Writing is like any art or sport. Practice makes perfect. Inspiration will only come if you push yourself to keep putting pen to paper."  *Neil Gaiman: “Put it [your writing] aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it.”  *Mark Twain: “Outline, outline, outline!”  In essence, break your “complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks,” and then start on the first one.  *Ernest Hemingway: “…  keep some inspiration in reserve. “Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day.” Let your subconscious work all the time. “But if you think about it  …  you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”  *Hilary Mantel:  “… clear your mind …  because your mind is overwhelmed by … thoughts … that are crowding your brain. You need to create a space for your inspiration to fill.”  (For detail, see Nicole Bianchi)

You’ll have to judge which and how many strategies might work for you, but here are some thoughts on creativity and desire that may help.

So resolving "writer's block" is more than just the need to plug in your nonfunctioning computer or routinely do hundreds of undisciplined “writing crunches” … or, for that matter, to stop thinking. Consider that inability to create may be a symptom of who you are as a writer and what level of accomplishment you’ve achieved. Are you writing for excellence in creating fiction story as an art form or are you writing to be published to convince others you are an author? And are you intensely dedicated to the life-long learning of writing literary fiction and storytelling, and analyzing (not copying) the great stories you admire that have lasted as art forms?

And think about the immediate. Are you objectively conscious of the daily effect your emotional and/or psychological states have on your productivity. If you can believe life's minicrisies or drained physical or mental energy contribute to difficulty in generating innovative creativity, don’t be hard on yourself by blaming your troubles on a lack of ability and determination but accept that the individual, day to day process and success of creative writing is always in flux and will be influenced by your emotional state. To weather the inevitable breakdowns that seem to affect all of us, you might try this type of thinking.

Actually, finding a solution to loss of creative productive fiction that is personally satisfying and artistically accepted takes years to develop, like what a professional classic pianist must go through to practice superb technic and perfect performance to create individuality in interpretation and sound, and learn from extensive analysis of other artists how to generate an admirable career. So, as authors, we might respond to the often inevitable expected downtime in our creativity by savoring our "writer's block" writing time to study these skills: writing of craft; developing clear effective prose; analyzing secrets of other writers; improving story structure and character-based dramatic plots, and always looking to other nonwriting personal-skills that require: concentration, mental and physical coordination, focus of attention on individual thinking and skill improvements, and that accumulatively produce synergistic success in reaching goals. It is true writers achieve success in what they do as well as recover from obstacles by delicate adjustments of who they are and with truthful self-awareness.

Make sense? Your comments would be appreciated. How do you respond to “writer’s block”? How do you use breakdown time resulting from loss of productive, creative storytelling?

Thanks for reading. William H. Coles

REFERENCES

*Coles, a fiction writer: The Anatomy of a Wannabe Literary Fiction Writer

*Coles, author’s attitudes: Author’s Attitudes

*Nicole Bianchi on writer’s block: 5 Famous Authors’ Strategies for Conquering Writer’s Block

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Suchins Escape

Illustration by Peter Healy for Short Story "Suchin’s Escape," by William H. Coles



A Fiction-Writer Changes Style with Image-Words Article About Writing Better


Monday, April 2nd, 2018
William H. Coles

What if the writer can, with words, create images in a reader’s mind that primarily stimulate setting and character in a fiction story. It’s a matter of choice, imagination, purpose, and style, and very individual. Using basic-story information of plot momentum, let's augment basic story action-information with setting and characterization with authorial style changes as examples.

They went to the birthday party of a man. Is it appropriate to develop setting and character in scene or narrative when the plot purpose is to simply move characters to a party? Will it inhibit or captivate a reader’s interest? Consider these examples.

Examples of style change with use of imagery.

1) BASIC DETAIL with IMAGES embossing SETTING.

The locomotive with colorful cars behind followed the track that snaked through the valley. The steam of the locomotive reddened the face of the engineer as he leaned out the window. He wondered, as the clouds gathered, if the printed banners with the czar’s name flapping above the red, green and white decorations so carefully applied on the cars behind by the birthday celebrants, would be dampened, maybe even destroyed, by rain. He gripped the waist-high metal lever jutting up through a slit in the floor and shoved it forward. The locomotive strained ahead tilting to the left when it reached the first turn.

2) BASIC PLOT information but DIFFERENT IMAGES. A different fiction-prose style.

The packed cable car left Fisherman’s wharf with a bell clang and a screech of steel on steel. Most of my fellow students had some colorfully wrapped birthday gift to give to Mr. Faraday. I teetered on an outer step of the car holding a hand rail while being jostled between a muscular middle-aged man in a skin-tight cyclist suit and aerodynamically sleek helmet and a reeking, unshaven, wrinkled old man in a torn, too-big, woolen overcoat.  The cable car nosed down after we turned onto Powell and we shifted our weight to remain as close to upright as possible.  Without warning, rain pelted my face, and I knew by the squishy feel of the rolled white-paper banner that I had painted with purple-ink birthday greetings was ruined.

3) The above image-detail may be too much and exaggerated for some stories, an unacceptable style. Here using same plot basic information, people going to a party, is the same story development WITHOUT IMAGERY that emphasizes characterization.

All the students were crowded into the bus. We silently resented the trip to our professor’s pretentious and unwelcoming mansion for his birthday celebration to pronounce our fallacious– but demanded–admiration for him. When we arrived, dense rain fell us as we stepped from the bus and the celebration banner I had painted was ruined and I threw it under the bus, happy not to have to exude feigned respect.

Take Away.

With careful thought and considered judgement, images in a fiction-writer’s story can delineate style, build characters, and stimulate setting visualization. But it may be easy to overdo in some styles to the detriment of story momentum and loss of reader engagement.

EXAMPLE STORIES:
Stories that use images to stimulate setting visualization and enhance characterization.
Speaking of the Dead
The Miracle of Madame Villard

FREE: READ, LISTEN, OR DOWNLOAD PDF OR MP3 ONLINE here:
https://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories-william-h-coles/speaking-of-the-dead/
https://www.storyinliteraryfiction.com/original-stories-william-h-coles/the-miracle-of-madame-villard/

PODCASTS

Speaking of the Dead
https://storyinfictionpodcast.com/speaking-of-the-dead-3/
The Miracle of Madame Villard
https://storyinfictionpodcast.com/madame-villard-9/

Speaking Of The Dead by William H. Coles

Speaking of the Dead, a short story by William H. Coles
Illustration by Betty Harper

The Miracle of Madame Villard

The Miracle of Madame Villard

The Miracle of Madame Villard, a short story by William H. Coles
Illustration by Peter Healy




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