Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Elizabeth Hawksley: Writing Tips #8

Today, Elizabeth Hawksley is giving us some of her favourite writing tips in the eighth part of our series.

Tip for Getting a Character Unstuck

I discovered this trick quite by chance. For some reason, I just couldn’t sort out an important scene between my hero and heroine. I knew sparks were supposed to fly but it wasn’t working; it was more damp squib than fireworks.

In desperation, I decided just as an exercise to write my heroine’s diary for the same scene. Perhaps a first person viewpoint would help to free the block. At first, a stream of waffle poured out. Doggedly, I went on writing. Then, suddenly, an unexpected nugget popped up. I continued writing.

After about forty minutes of continuous writing I realized, to my surprise, that I now knew several important things about my heroine that I hadn’t known before. I’d no idea where they’d come from but, once they’d appeared, not only did they make sense, new possibilities for the scene emerged. The block was unravelling. I stopped writing, took myself off for a ‘thinking’ walk and, by the time I got home, I’d sorted it.  

Note: it’s important to write in stream of consciousness mode without trying to shape it. Eventually, your heroine herself will give you the answer.

P.S. This also works for heroes.

Elizabeth Hawksley

Looking for more writing tips? Click on "writing tips" in the label below to find more in the series.


wannabe a writer said...

Hi Elizabeth - thanks for such a brilliant tip. Definitely one to put to good use.

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

Thanks, Wannabe Linda. I wish you the very best of luck with it.

Melinda Hammond/Sarah Mallory said...

Brilliant, Elizabeth! I use something similar if I am stuck - I will write it as if one of the characters is describing the whole scene to me and you are right, you learn things about that character you never knew before. Great stuff!

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

Thanks, Melinda/Sarah. I think that the tips one discovers for oneself - by serendipity, as it were, are often the most useful.