Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A-Z Challenge D is for DeadEnd

This post combines the Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group which posts on the first Wednesday of every month and the A-Z Blog Challenge.


Have you ever written yourself into a Dead End? This probably mostly happens to pantsers like me who wing it all the way (like the A-Z Challenge). 
Some people will call it Writers Block perhaps. But, to me, it's not a lack of ideas, more the fact that they don't work.
It happened to me with "Perfect Score". Sam was a girl originally. I kid you not. But circumstances made me realize that to be the character he is, he had to change sex (no pain involved, I promise).
Tess in "Hewhay Hall" was a bit of shrew at first (Hewhay Hall will be launched soon). But she needed to be likeable, so her personality had to change.
I'm having the same problem with my WIP. I need a reason for one of my main characters to make a journey, and my good friend and mentor Elin Gregory suggested I make the two m/cs brother and sister.
Hey! Why not? It means a good re-write, but it'll work and it's got me backing out of the dead-end.


So...change the sex, change the personality, change the relationship. Three ways out of a hole. Do you have any other suggestions?



25 comments:

  1. I'm a pantser too, and write myself into corners all the time. I'm thinking one of these days I'm going to learn how to outline, but I wonder if it'll take some of the fun out of the writing process - part of the fun is discovery.
    Enjoying your AtoZ so far ;-)

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  2. I don't have dead ends as much as sagging middles. I am impressed that you did a MC sex change. :)

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  3. Pantsers amaze me. I don't think I could make it more than a chapter without messing everything up.

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  4. i know what you mean susan--i recently had several entries to a new story "autumn of the heart"---i became uninterested in it and rudely wrote the character off--may come back to it one day---nice post!

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  5. I've never had to do a sex change before lol! Usually for me it's a duff storyline that needs tweaking so it works without messing up everything else.

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  6. I'm constantly writing myself into a corner. I've never had to do a sex change before. Well, not really. I did combine two character, one male and one female, into just one male character but that's not really a sex change as much as it is absorbion or something. =)

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  7. Thank you everyone for your comments! Katie, I think once your pantser (of some sort) you'll always be - I've tried plotting and outlining, but all the excitement goes out of it for me. Brinda, LOL - sagging middles! Libby, we're all different, just as well really. Oh yes, Lynn, one day you'll resurrect that work and it'll be fantastic. Don't worry, Kyra, Sam was much happier in the end. Absorbion! MJ -I like that. And that's another technique, combine two characters.

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  8. The dead end and I are well acquainted. Usually involves backing out and doing a rewrite to get back on track.

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    1. True enough L.G. - I wrote 17 versions of Perfect Score!!!

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  9. For me, when I write mysteries, I have to know the end. I have to know why the murder was committed and why the suspects are suspects--that means a lot of planning. However, in regards to MC development, I've had to have plausible reasons for the two MCs to be together and that has often led to dead ends. I've gotten out of it by changing careers of the characters.

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  10. This was the best advice. Dead end is better than writer's block because that is what you have reached when you can't go further "a dead end." thanks for that and I'll be back. Great insight. Thanks for visiting me today.
    dreamweaver

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  11. Dead ends are often a great way to enter into new beginnings!
    Great A-Z post!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  12. dead ends are challenges to me! like solving puzzles, there has to be a way to figure it out!

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  13. The final big action scene in my first book stumped me, because I started seeing plot holes in the execution. So I went back to the beginning of that scene and tried a new direction, and with every step made sure it was possible. I hit several dead ends before I found a way to make it work.

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  14. Changing careers! Good one Clarissa. Thanks Debra and nutschell! Tara, yes, I'm tenacious I refuse to let dead-ends beat me. There has to be a way out! So frustrating, isn't it Alex? Still, we get there in the end.

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  15. Great post. I don't like to write until I have the story figured out (mostly) in my head. Even then, sometimes I get stuck and have to put it down until I have it worked out.

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  16. I usually go back and rewrite if I've hit a dead end. Or, if I'm pressed for time (like for NaNoWriMo), I'll just start a new chapter and continue as if I'd written previous sections that would get me out of it.

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  17. I'm an outliner...so no dead-ends for me! :)

    DL @ Cruising Altitude 2.0
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

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  18. I outline, but I've still written myself into a corner. My characters high-jack things and I have to go back to fix their chaotic nature.

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  19. Fist bumps to a fellow pantser. And yes, I have written myself into a dead end. it stinks all the back tracking, but I have yet to be able to complete a detailed outline that was not thrown out the window the minute the writing started. :)

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  20. Found myself a lot at dead ends. Maybe you should stick to what you feel is write.
    Am here - http://janukulkarni.blogspot.in/

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  21. Great D post. There's been a few times where I had to do this. Mostly I change relationship or career for a different motivation. You can add a character quirk or add something that happened in the past.

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  22. I tend to follow Raymond Chandler's advice:

    If in doubt, have a man with a gun burst into the room.

    No guns in classical Greece so in 'Bees' I used three feet of water and an out of control bay stallion :)

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  23. Thanks everyone! Christine, I like the idea of adding a character quirk. LOL, Ess, send in the guns!!! Kill off a few characters - that's not a bad idea...

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  24. I had this problem with my current story. I needed a reason as to why one guy wouldn't kill another - so I had to give them a whole prior relationship instead of them being strangers.

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