Last week Part One (1-3) we started the discussion on ways to knock around writer’s block.
Part Two (4-6) continues with more ideas to break up barriers to your stories.
The next tool may require a little outing. Can you find a work of art?
All art tells a story so if your story is blocked listen to the whispers of your inner Basquiat.
Tool #4 Find Art
Find an art gallery and pick a random painting or drawing. Pick one that draws you in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a modern painting or by an old master. It has to be one that moves you to write a story about what you imagine is happening in the painting.
I remember the first time I saw an exhibit on Expressionists. I was 17. I saw a drawing called Girl and Death. It was exactly as it sounds; a skeletal form wraps its arms around a sensuous woman and they appear to not only embrace but also be dancing.
It was so eerie and captivating at the same time. I went home and wrote my first short story.
Laying your own impressions over the artistic force of another is a powerful co-opting of the art of storytelling.
And it can be extended to other art forms like film. To use the next tool all you have to do is go to the movies.
Tool #5 Rewrite Movies
When you look at a movie you see the ending the way the script was shot by the filmmaker. There is art in filmmaking, in the acting, the cinematography the costumes and of course the writing.
But a way to beat writer’s block is not to admire the writing of a movie you’ve just seen; instead, redirect it and rewrite how it ends.
Michael Corleone takes his brother Fredo out in a rowboat to kill him. Fredo accidently hits Michael in the head with an oar, Michael falls in the water, dead. Fredo lives and takes Michael’s place.
(Tool#5.1 Rewrite the movie with you in it)
Pick any movie and replace the main character with a character that has your backstory. See if you can play it out or at least a version of the original film staring YOU.
Now that we are talking about you it brings me to the next tool, which is all about you. But you may need to call a friend.
Tool#6 Interview me
Interviews are powerful tools when your writing gets blocked. Writers use interviews all the time to get out of themselves and develop characters as well as understand relationships in novels.
Ask someone to interview you as your main character. All writers need to know their characters well enough to speak for them when asked how those characters feel about politics, religion, love and family.
This tool blasts through writer’s block and helps writers work on building confidence in writing dialogue. To know a character as the character and not as an extension of the writer is a profound accomplishment and often a sledgehammer to writer’s block.
But when there is no character but the you, the writer and nothing is happening on the page the next tool will let you be yourself and still snap off a chunk of that writer’s block.
Next time: 9 Tools to Break Up Writers Block – Part Three
(If you missed Part 1-3 go here)