Friday, October 05, 2007


I've been struggling with a battle scene. The problem is that this one's a magical battle, and I just can't seem to get it started. It needs to happen--has to happen for the book to move forward. I'm just having trouble with it. It may also be that I'm moving into a portion of the novel where my visioning of what happens is still a little sketchier than I'd like. I have all the scene blurbs, and I know exactly what has to happen to take us down the path to the end, it's just that sometimes even when I know what has to happen, I don't always know how it happens. Right now, the distinction is wreaking havoc with this particular scene. I'll get it, though. It happens in Chapter 11 of Shifts of Perception, not long after the midway crisis point. Hey--didn't I have some trouble with Chapter 11 in the last novel as well? Hmm.

Anyway, one thing that might make it better is chocolate. For me, not the characters. I just read somewhere that chocolate is actually healthy in moderation because it raises endorphins, makes people happy, lowers their stress, or something like that. And maybe--just maybe--it inspires writers. I'll be happy to put that to the test. My favorite chocolate is produced by this company. It's better than any other chocolate I've ever found, and if it can't inspire me, I don't know what can.


Anonymous said...

I can certainly relate to your struggle with a scene you can't quite imagine, or are not entirely sure how to write, how things should advance in the particulars.

Although I'm sure with chocolate you'll have no problem finding the solutions, here are some ideas from my own similar experiences:

1) Write it any old way and just get it done and move on. You'll continue to reflect on it and the answers will come. You can write a second draft and tidy things up.

2) The Socratic Method: Write down the questions you have, and then brainstorm answers. Write a paragraph for each possible answer you can identify, then compare the various alternatives, pick one, and write one more paragraph to explain which one you chose and why. Each will have pro's and con's, so there will be trade-offs. Simply identifying the questions, reducing them to written form, helps make them more concrete, helps identify what the real issues are, and usually helps suggest possible answers right off the bat.

3) Skip this scene, write a short statement about what happens here, a summary of the main points, what you know must happen, or how it must end, and then go on, unless of course you can't go on without some of these answers. If you skip it now, you can come back to it later when you have more ideas.

4) Work on something else, or do something else, and suddenly you'll find the answers coming to you. Just taking a break lets the mind relax and solve the problems.

Hope these ideas help spark some creative solutions. I'm impressed with how much you are accomplishing! You are certainly moving forward.


KHurley said...

Thanks for all the great ideas. Usually, I go for method number four, which works pretty well for me.

Andrew said...

Ahh...battle scenes.
(I came across this blog via Author's Blogs BTW)
I guess I start with point A and point B, and try to figure out how A turns into B. Who dies, who's hurt, who's brave, who runs, who stabs their friend in the back. I always try to make things unpredictable. I like to make the outcome in doubt, and of course there's the inevitable sacrifice and sometimes plain losses. Imagine how much more difficult your character's life is after he is shot (or evilly transformed into a muffin...depending on your world).

As far as chocolate...I run...which has all the same effects you describe (endorphins etc) but any physical activity probably helps as well (and makes the chocolate that much more tasty)