Saturday, March 24, 2007

Writing with Bricks


At some point in every one of my books -- and frequently several points in my books -- I am faced with a brick wall.

It is, conservatively, about 50 feet high and longer than I can see in either direction. There are, as you might imagine, a lot of bricks in it.

Where I need to get to in my book is on the other side of that wall.

Somewhere in the wall there is -- usually -- one loose brick. Sometimes the brick is intuitively obvious. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes I spend an inordinate amount of time wiggling bricks, trying to find the loose one, trying to get it loose, trying to find the hole that will get me to the other side.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes I chip away at a particularly enticing brick for hours, days, weeks, months. Yes, really. And all for naught. The brick isn't going anywhere. The story is still on the other side. And I'm still here.

That's when I need to start thinking about other ways around. And that's what I've been doing lately. Brilliant Harlequin Presents writer Michelle Reid describes that as "writer's block." (or perhaps, in my case, "writer's brick?). But I don't see it as the writer being blocked. It's not that I can't write. It's that there is something in the story that is blocked -- and I have to find a way to get at it.

Today I decided that the only way to do it was to change the parameters entirely. If I couldn't find a loose brick, so be it. I'd build a ladder and climb over.

So I did. I'm on the other side now. There are a lot of bricks back there that I'm never going to even use. Interesting bricks, but apparently not a part of this story.

The ladder worked. At least so far.

Cross your fingers.

4 Comments:

Blogger Michelle Styles said...

Hooray for you and finiding the ladder.

I read an interview with JP yesterday. He hates his toes (they are hairy and have cracked nails according to the article) , and thinks his son is the only person to ever have kissed them. He plans to adore his son forever for that. But I got the general impression that he adored his son anyway...

I thought you'd be interested. It was also a great picture of him...

25 March, 2007  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

And WHERE is this article, Michelle???? Inquiring minds -- who despite ladders need all the help they can get -- want to read it, savor it. Etc etc etc.

25 March, 2007  
Blogger christa said...

Make sure you keep the ladder in case you come across another brick wall.

25 March, 2007  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

No worries, Christa. I know right where I've put it. I just hope next time I hit the brick wall the ladder is tall enough!

25 March, 2007  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home