N is for No Ideas

It’s not that I’ve no ideas for short stories right now; I’ve several. It’s that I am not entirely sure how to write them down.

Where do I start? What character do I start with?

It’s not like writer’s block (which I don’t believe in anyway.) Writer’s block is supposed to be when a writer has no ideas at all about a story. You stare at the blank page and your mind is blank, too. You got no characters, no plot, no world, nothing. Not even the seed of an idea.

You need to start at the beginning, right? But where is the beginning? That’s the question. I don’t know.

Personally, I think this means I just to think about the story a little bit more. Or maybe I will just write the scenes I do and worry about the beginning later. No one ever said the story has to be written linearly. I could jump around the timeline and piece it all together later.

There is trouble with that approach – making sure all the pieces fit and follow each other and don’t develop a big gaping hole – but I am not sure what else to do.

16 thoughts on “N is for No Ideas

  1. Writer’s block is a tricky subject. I tend not to be blocked in general, but I might be stalled on a particular project because I don’t know quite how to proceed or whatever. Right now, I’m struggling with getting to work on my project for this week because the voice and details haven’t really settled in yet. I know there’s nothing for it but to keep plugging away, putting little bits and priming the pump until it begins to flow.

    Good luck finding the opening of your short story — or writing it nonlinearly!

  2. Arlee Bird says:

    You could write the story several different ways. Maybe you can make a book from the same story from different angles.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Try my networking experiment

  3. As Lee suggests, you can always write it from different angles, different POV’s, different tense, even.

    My suggestion is start with the character who has most at stake in your first scene. I’m writing a chapter now in a novella where the new girlfriend wants to meet her boyfriend’s mother. He’s nervous because his mother is something of a bitch. He has the most to lose, trying to please both the g-f and the mother, so I’m telling it from his POV.

  4. Perhaps if you made yourself up a questionnaire and answered it for each of your characters and even for your story – example

    1: What do I know about my character?

    2: Is there an obstacle they need to face?

    3: Does anyone help them?

    4: Who is their antagonist?

    Get the idea, perhaps answering questions like this will help kick start the story.

  5. I like how you are willing to talk it out on your blog! It’s hard for me to just throw it down on the page, but sometimes that’s the only way I can say anything!!

    Thanks for the resources. :)

  6. Donna B. McNicol [@donnabmcnicol] says:

    That’s the nice thing about writing software like WriteItNow and Scrivener…write the scenes and use the storyboard to move them around. regardless…you’ll figure it ou!

  7. This is the same problem that has had me stuck on the novel I’m working on. I’ve been casually writing for over 10 years and really want to publish my work. I never seem able to finish stuff, though. I start writing and then go back and edit and soon I’m stuck in this endless circle of editing and I never get to the end of the novel. I love your post :) Thanks for stopping by my blog, too :)

  8. I think you’re on the right track. Just by writing everything non-linearly, you’ll get your creative juices flowing. So what if they don’t all come together nicely? Once you figure it out, you may think of a way to plug the holes, or make everything work out just by deleting a couple of scenes.

    Good luck!

    J.C. Martin
    A to Z Blogger

  9. I keep thinking I should try to just write ideas as I have them and worry about making it all fit together in order later, but I keep stopping and going “Where does this fit in?” and then stop entirely… >.>

  10. I personally try a short glass of single malt, neat, to get going, followed up by refusing to go pee until at least 500 words are done to solve the sense of crisis.

    The 500 words might SUCK (although with the scotch, one doesn’t mind so much) but forcing myself to write that brief amount always stops the sense of “I can’t do this any more!”

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