Elizabeth Vaughan is a USA Today Bestselling Author known for her books that combine the best of both fantasy and romance. RT Book Reviews calls her latest, "A wonderful experience." And readers who want to get to know her work are in luck: The first book of her acclaimed Warlands series is now on sale for $1.99! Find out why her stories are compared to both Robert E. Howard's and Mercedes Lackey's, you won't regret it.
Here, Beth tells us about getting stuck when writing, and more importantly, what to do about it!
Sometimes, I get stuck.
There are times that the words flow, that my fingers on the keyboard are flying and the characters are talking and it’s like magic. I live in the wonderful warm glow of being a writer.
Then there’s the other times. When I get stuck. Not stuck for a word or an idea. Stuck on a scene. Just . . . stuck. Nothing flows. The characters are not talking, I have no ideas, no words, and it’s a pure misery.
Some would call this writer’s block, and I am not sure that is accurate but okay, let’s call it writer’s block.
I have two tricks. I am willing to share.
First trick: I walk away. Get up, walk away from the keyboard and go do something else. Clean litter boxes, try a new recipe, rake leaves, clean out a closet, anything physical that lets your mind wander. I take walks, do tai chi, and try not to think about the book. Showers also work, so does swimming, trying to trim my cat’s claws, and long boring drives on the expressway.
Second trick: I use another character’s perspective. In what ever scene I am stuck on, I try to find a secondary or even tertiary character and try to see the scene from his/her perspective.
An example of this? Palace guards. The spear-carrier, standing guard in the hall as the prince strides down, boots thumping against the stone floor, his cape flaring dramatically. I should be in the Prince’s POV, but what is that guard thinking? His feet hurt, his palm is sweaty, whoa the prince looks pissed as all hell and I hope he doesn’t ask me about–
And then it occurs to me that the Prince should be worried about that, and not what I am trying to have him think about. That the plot requires one thing and I am trying to force another. That sudden awareness shows me the flaws my approach to the main character’s internal dialogue and actions.
Our stories tend to focus on the main and secondary characters. But those characters do not operate in a vacuum. They live in a world and the world interacts with them. By pulling back, seeing with a different set of eyes, considering other points of view, we make our writing stronger by making our characters stronger and richer in scope.
I change my approach, broaden my world view and the words flow again.
At least, until the next time I get stuck.
Elizabeth Vaughan is the USA TODAY Bestselling Author of 'Warprize,' the first volume of The Chronicles of the Warlands. Her father introduced her to sci/fi and fantasy, and she’s never looked back. She loves fantasy and romance novels, and has play Dungeons and Dragons since 1981, both table-top and the online game. The Chronicles of the Warlands stretches over eight books, with more to come. The latest in the series was WarDance, 2017. Beth also has a number of short stories published in various anthologies.
Beth is owned by incredibly spoiled cats, and lives in the Northwest Territory, on the outskirts of the Black Swamp, along Mad Anthony's Trail on the banks of the Maumee River. You can learn more about her and her books at her website, writeandrepeat.com