Pulling A Blank

 

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You will have noticed I haven’t written an entry for my blog for a while. There is no great mystery behind it. I was not kidnapped, transported to another planet or plummeted into a mystical realm like the children of Narnia. No. It is quite simple. I was going through what many writers go through at various points when writing: writer’s block.  I just couldn’t think of anything to write for my blog.

Maybe it was because my creative energies were being sapped by two other things: submitting my second book to Literary Agents (time consuming and somewhat soul destroying) and compiling the notes on my third book before settling down to editing proper. I’m still at both of these and they have become my obsessions.

This meant I had less time to just let my wander and play in the quiet moments. This is an essential part of writing. If you are told to ‘just write,’ often you’re mind goes immediately blank.

That’s why writing at school can be really hard. The blank page and your teacher asking you to come out with some great story just like that. And there are all the things you are told to remember: fronted adverbials, alliteration for effect, a simile or metaphor or two. No wonder you mind just freezes. How can anyone write under such pressure?

Take a moment and put your pencil down. Stare out the window. Watch the trees in the breeze, traffic passing or the rain fall. Take some calming breaths. Think about what you are interested in: A TV programme you watched; a computer game you play; a song you like; a pet you cuddle… Make that your story.

There are no rules when writing stories. You can have happen whatever you want. You are the magical master. If you want a tap-dancing zebra as a class teacher, so be it! You want to be skiing on the skin of a bowl of custard, go on! It is your world. Rule it.

WRITING TIP 3: What If?

whatif 001I am often asked, “How do you get all your ideas?” And I usually reply, “Thinking!” (Not really). It is a very important question to ask because without ideas you face the horror of the blank page! Da-da-dum. That’s the moment when you are sat at your table or lying on the floor or under the covers of your bed with a brand new piece of paper and a pen ready-for-action. Only problem is: your head is empty! What can you write about? You want to write something but what?

A good way to come up with ideas is to play the What if…? game. That’s when you ask yourself a series of What if questions until you come up with an idea you might want to write. You might come up with lots  – so have a notepad ready.

Here’s what I mean by What if questions:
What if bananas hated being eaten by monkeys and decide to fight back to stop it happening?
What if my dad gradually turned into a gorilla?
What if I found a magical gold coin that could transport me anywhere?
What if killer cucumbers from space started to invade earth?
What if people disappeared when visiting the house at the end of my street?

I’m sure you get the idea. It doesn’t matter how daft some of the What ifs are as long as you let your imagination go wild and you jot your ideas down. Don’t think “I can’t write that, people will think it’s silly,” because the story is not theirs. You are writing the story so it’s your story so you can write what you like. You’re the boss!

Have fun!