I’ve read on many of the author forums of people seeking advice on how to overcome the inevitable condition know as writers block. I’m very fortunate in that, after six novels and three short stories, I have yet to encounter that roadblock. The stories seem to just float around in my head like fluttering butterflies.
Still, until I get the first three or four chapters under my belt, I’m becoming more and more resistant to lock myself away in the back room and bury my brain in the fictional world. That’s to be expected given how isolated authors become once they’re in the zone. There’s one area where the pressure required to force my big butt to stay glued to that chair is more than just simply twisting my own ear; its an all out war.
This battle between me wanting to get the story in my head down on paper and yet pushing away from the keyboard on selected scenes has happened on each novel I’ve written, but it was only after my third story that I realized why I was pushing back. You see, as a rule, I’m a gentle teddy bear, hard on the outside but mushy on the inside. Sure, I get anger and fight back verbally when some politically blind cranial vacuum tries to shove their lies and rhetoric down my throat, but in most of the difficult situations we encounter each day, for my size, I am very laid back. That characteristic of my personality goes along with the fact that I have great difficulty dealing with the suffering of others. Whether it be abuse, conditions of poverty, or physical pain; it truly screws up my mind to deal with such human suffering.
What’s my point? I’m sure that many people experience such difficulty. Problem is, as a writer of suspense, intrigue, and romance; human suffering is part of the draw that envelops the reader. We become entwined in what the character is going through and remain locked on every word till we can see how the world is made bright and sunny again. I confess, I’m a sucker for such stories. Yet as a writer, I hate dealing with the hard scenes where I have to “make” someone experience pain or emotional torment. Each time I come to those scenes, it is a confrontation with my own inner voices to force myself to sit down and do the scene.
After writing six novels, I recognize this weakness, and I accept it without frustration at myself for being such a wussy. Case in point, I can usually rough out a chapter every couple days. On a novel I just finished but have not yet submitted, I had to work piece meal on the story across three other novels I was writing. I just couldn’t bear to deal with the emotional suffering going on in the story. Then why not just change the scene? Doesn’t work that way, at least not for me. The story has a life of its own as the muse whispers in my ear. Take out a scene, and the whole story changes.
I’m currently at that stage in another story I’m working with my co author budette Candace Morehouse and I’m still struggling with chapter three. Why? You guessed it. Something really really bad happens in Chapter one and three and I just got over the stress of the first chapter. Now I have to go through it again. Geez. But I will get it done, I just have to take a deep breath, tie myself to the chair and DO it.
Till next time.
Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the year, 2008