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One Of Those Days

November 4, 2012

Friday was as frustrating a day as it gets. I’m nearly 16,000 words into my new novel, “The Coffin Haulers,” and reached a point in a chapter where I sat back and wondered: What the hell happens next?

Private detective Joey Baloney has some preliminary, weak clues in a murder he’s investigating. There are two suspects, and  thought it be would logical at that point of the chapter that he goes to question one. But the scene I had in mind would have been trite, dull, uninteresting–merely putting one word after another to prove I still know how to write.

Yes, I could have gone back later and rewritten it, as I did often in “The Champagne Ladies,” but something inside me said: Try harder. Come up with something better right now so you don’t have to reinvent it two months from now.

I’m sure you know how hard it is to try harder. Sometimes the mind just won’t cooperate. And then you’re left in utter despair, questioning why you even believe that you’re a writer. Self-doubt overwhelms you.

For some reason I thought I wouldn’t have this problem again, as I did in my first novel. After all, I strung together 70,000 words in that book to create a compelling story, I’m a real pro, and pros don’t get stumped on their next book.

And oh, how wrong it is to think that way.

I know better. I know all the stories about accomplished writers who sink deep into the abyss of writer’s block every time they write a book, whether it’s their first or their tenth. I take solace from that, but only a little. I still have get back to that chapter and figure out what happens next.

My problem in this case is that I know how the chapter leads to a confrontation later, but I have to write 20,000 words to get there. Luckily, I’ve figured out that my own despair in writing the chapter can be transferred to Joey, who also doesn’t know what to do next because he himself is in despair about so few clues in the case he’s working on.

I’ll let you know how this turns out.

  1. My very first thought, before I even rea the whole post, was tha one of the so called weak clues wasn’t so weak. Change it up, add spice, find a creative twist. You’ll find a way I’m sure.

  2. Thanks, Nathan. Excellent advice.

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