What is "Writer's Block"?

What is it that haunts writers, young and old alike?

For some, it's just plain laziness, which in truth would be procrastination (which, if you hear me through, you will find is actually harder to vanquish that Writer's Block.)

But laziness isn't what we label "Writer's Block".  In fact, it's much easier to overcome your Writer's Block than it is to overcome your unwillingness to write (which is what we call procrastination).

In fact, there is little difference between Writer's Block and Procrastination, when you come down to it.  They both have the same cure - and while it won't do the Block and its Sidekick in forever, it will work ever time you confront Writer's Block or Procrastination.

What is it?  Well, I guess it's time to reveal the secret (that isn't so secret).

Planning.  Outlining.  Plotting.  Whatever you want to call it - do it.  It's the only cure that will get you out of a hole quickly and without a lot of time wasted (heh, not to say this is an EASY way.  There's no easy shortcut to anything in writing, really).

The other methods of defeating "Writer's Block" and Procrastination is to "just write", to "sit down and just write".  I find this inadequate for me (not to say it's bad if you do it this way, but I see it as extra work).

The truth of it is, when you force yourself to write, the work will be forced, and will clearly show itself to be forced.  I cannot read that kind of writing, it just makes me go insane (which is why I write slowly on the first draft, though you'll see my moments when I write like a mad man - and virtually burn my keyboard ;)

Writer's Block isn't EASY to overcome, but if you feel intimidated by the saying "just write" (that I'm sure you've heard at least once before if you read other things related to this subject) then this way is, I believe, simpler.

Remember, Writer's Block is only what you crank it up to be.  If you know what to write, you can write it any time with or without "Writer's Block".

Okay, so maybe you don't think you're very good at outlining.  Well, you'll want to see my next post if you are in that mind set.

~Robert WordWeaver
Writing the beginning of a chapter or page is fairly hard, I'm sure you can all agree.  But writing beyond that gets easier.

Or, at least, until about 15,000 words into a novel.  It almost always starts there for me.  And continues up until about the ending 10,000 or so words.  Be assured that when I tell you those couple thousand words stuck there and aren't moving, it isn't fun.

Specifically, I'm talking about a novel here.  But it happens in short stories.  About a third of the way through I get killed - impaled by the unneeded disasters that plague me.

Midst all the arduous, long-suffering times that you shall pass though, there's a hope.  A lot of hope.  It's a bit like a key.

The number one key is most certainly persistence.

Persistence might not make life easier that very moment, but it will assure you're going to have a finished novel.

Let me delve a little deeper into the simple word of Persistence.

Persistence isn't getting up and writing a few soggy words.

Persistence is enjoying writing - about your characters.

At least, that's the only kind of persistence that will work.  If you write to write, it's not going to get you anywhere.  If you write because you need to write, you'll get somewhere (though it might not be as fast as modern-day life forms want...).

"I want persistence - and I want it now."
I want patience - and I want it now."

Just like patience, persistence won't be delivered to your door within 24 hours after you order it off of Amazon.

Persistence is something you have to be persistent about.... *duh* (now I'm going in circles, right?)

Back to the 'needing to write' thing.  If you don't have a 'burning in your heart' to write, you might not get very far, but it doesn't mean you're sealed off from being a successful writer at all.  Persistence is the key.

Persistence.  Perseverance, determination, diligence, pushiness, resolution - the opposite of feebleness.

You can't be weak-hearted.  Sure, there's going to be a lot of troubles along the way, it won't be easy.

But if you want to write that much - there's nothing that can stop you.  Believe in yourself, because it all comes down to you.

Do you really want to write something that can be published?  Believing in yourself sounds easy.  It's not.  But it will give you persistence, and it will give your very own work of writing.

~The WordWeaver
As you know, I am a Christian-Fantasy writer.  I love to read other Christian-Fantasy work.  But I've been realizing that there are many, many cliches with Christian writing - whether it's fantasy or not.  So I've created a list that you may be interested in.

1.  A common cliche sentence is:  "My parents had both been Christians, but I'd never really cared."  This is often followed up with the character thinking whether or not he/she should have cared about it.  And not only is it a sentence that's cliche - the whole idea is cliche.  Sure, it happens - a lot.  But it's getting old.  You can have the same element, yes, but mix it up a little.  Maybe his/her parents did something to make him/her dislike (or just not care about) Christianity.

2.  LPI, or Last Paragraph (Page) Impact.  LPI is basically having the moral summed up in one last paragraph or page.  To many times I've done it.  To many times others have too.  Don't feel bad if you did it, because it's pretty common (from the Christian Short Stories I've read, at least).  But you DO have to do something about it.  For a non-christian reader, it leaves a sour taste in their mouth - and for any other kind of reader, be he/she Christian or not Christian, it will delude the meaning.  How so?  First, it's used a lot, making it dull.  And second, it seems sudden and often an overreaction.  More often than not, it's a slow process in becoming a Christian and believing in God.  Even if the character doesn't become a Christian and just realizes that there might be one true God, it's overused, rendering it a no-no.

Okay.  2 might not be a list.  But it's something.  Now let me just ramble for a little bit about Christian Fantasy.

Jesus' parables can be very useful when writing Christian Fantasy.  We know that the parables didn't actually happen, and were more of just a story to tell the point in a way the people would understand, so using some of the same elements in our stories can be a good way to teach and to entertain.  I am currently writing a series of short stories about God's characteristics (except, for some reason, I lost my touch and need to find it again...), but there are only so many traits to be written about, so I think I shall write a few adaptions type-things of parables as well.  I was thinking the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand.

Alright, now that I'm done rambling, I'll ask a question.  What do YOU think about Christian Fantasy?  What's important?  And  also, what cliches have you noticed in Christian Fantasy?

~The WordWeaver
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners… It’s gonna take awhile.  It’s normal to take 

awhile.  You just gotta fight your way through.” – Ira Glass.
The quote above is true.  Very true.

But I guess that's all.

~The WordWeaver

P.S.  Think on it, later I'll post something more about it.
Practical Guide For All Writers.  Keeping Cliche-Free And Original.

Here in part two, we are looking at Fantasy Dragons, and there history.

First, we have dragons.  Now we all agree that dragons are AWESOME but, they are cliched.  I'm terribly sorry to say it, but if dragons in your book, you made it a step more cliched.

Look how many books have dragons in them.  The list is almost as lengthy as how many High Fantasy books there are.

And not only that, but in just about every single nation, there were legends of these mythical creatures - what we now call dragons.

This diverse and eclectically known (Princess Writer... ahem :P) creature was used in Japanese legends, Norse legends, Greek mythology - even the Native Americans, a continent away, had ancient drawings of seven headed dragons.

Originally, a dragon was the Devil.  No one liked dragons - they were hated and feared - but they certainly were famous.

In medieval days, an idea in Germany circled around that if you bathed in dragon's blood, you would become immortal.

I have only read about 2 of the German legends, but they are very interesting.  I also HIGHLY recommend a book called 'Story of the Nations.  Germany.' It is a part of a long series about several different nations, published in 1896, so it's hard to get, but worth the effort.

But why are dragons so popular now?

To some extent, it was because dragons have always captured the minds of the people.  Tolkien surely revived the fantastical idea of dragons, creatures like Smaug are unforgettable.

And in recent years, authors have popularized dragons.  Christopher Poalini comes to my mind first.

As you can see though, dragons are cliche.  At least how people imagine them now.

So what can you to make a dragon NOT cliche?  Well, make them different.  Dragons these days are noble and proud, almost all of them are that way.  So why not change it?

Doing extreme and exotic things is always an option with fantasy...

~The WordWeaver

P.S.  There is so many comments and I can't respond to them all today... sorry!  I was going to something that is really important today, but I was only able to write this up... even though all I have to do was move it to this computer and paste it... :P
A Practical Guide For All Writers.  Keeping Cliche-Free And Original.

I shall be posting a series of at least 3-6 posts on originality and cliches that - especially young writers - often get caught up in.  Now I'm not saying I've mastered this area, but I do know these things, and I shall share them for your benefit!  So, here it is!

Every good fictional or non-fiction piece of work has a plot - believe me, even soap-operas do, but that's about as low as you can get.

Often times though, the plots that we come up with are unoriginal.  Obviously, inspiration is what sparked it, and inspiration it good!  But there's a clear line between inspiration, and so much inspiration that it no longer is inspiration and turns out to be either plain copying, or just flat out cliche.

Now, I will not spare you the hard truth, your writing - undoubtedly - has or was inspired by something, whether or not it was too much inspired, well, you'll have to figure that out for yourself.  What I'm saying though, is that we all take off thing from others.

Since J.R.R. Tolkien published the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the genre of High Fantasy has never been the same.

After J.K. Rowling published her series, the genre was impacted.

When George Lucas released the Star Wars Saga, the Science-Fiction genre was entirely overhauled.

Yet, J.R.R. Tolkien wasn't entirely original.  No, in fact, he reaped a MASSIVE amount of inspiration (and really just took) from the legends of Finland, the Norse, the Anglo-Saxons.  You see, he was NOT original.

J.K. Rowling too, used an exponential amount of legends - primarily that of Witch-craft and the sort.

George Lucas himself said he was greatly inspired from Flash Gordon.

And the first humans undoubtedly got inspiration from God's creation and the nature around them.

So you see, no one, absolutely no one, is completely original.

But that's okay.

Being original won't get you published in and of itself - don't get me wrong though, it will help greatly.

Moving On.

So now that I've covered that, I'll let you in on one cliche that nearly every Sci-Fi writer falls into.

A mixture of world terror and romance.

Number 1, why does there have to be romance?  Sure, people may be looking for companions because they're scared, but does that really have to get into romance???  The answer, no.  Because do you really think, if the world is seemingly about to explode, people would go get married in the dozens?  No, they wouldn't.  At least I sure wouldn't. There's far more greater things to worry about, like, well, just from the top of my mind we'll say, SAVING THE WORLD, duh.

Certainly, some people would be doing that, but that writing tactic is cliche and boring.

I'm not saying you can't have the two, but having the two combined is overused.

Now it comes to world terror.  Why does it always have to be aliens?  Okay fine, if it's not aliens it's mind-control, if it's not mind-control it's a dictator who just invented an army of robots who will destroy the world.

Woopidy doo, I've seen it a millions times already, I KNOW what I'm going to get out of this book (or movie) - boredom.

What really annoys me, though, is when Science-Fiction is over fictionalized.  For instance, aliens coming in saucer spaceships.

A round ship couldn't even fly, nor would it be arrow-dynamic.  Yes,  fiction is cool, but Science-Fiction should be what it tells us it is - Science, mixed with fiction, not fiction mixed with fantasy.

~The WordWeaver