Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wicked Wednesday - writing yourself into a corner


You're writing a fantastic story. The characters are complex, the setting unique, and the plot intense. You have that incredible feeling of creating something amazing.

Finally comes the big climax. There's a huge battle. Your heroes have been surrounded by a crafty villain and her minions with no way out. You're on the edge of your seat. And it is at this point you realize you have no idea how your heroes are going to get out of this.

Oh crap.

You might want to bash your head on the keyboard or cry that you'll have to start all over. There isn't enough chocolate in the world for that.

But wait! This is the best thing that can happen to you.

I know it's hard to believe, but writing yourself into a corner will bring out the creative best in you. You must think outside the box to help your heroes save themselves. But, you ask, if you have no ideas, how do you do this?

This happened to me just recently, and it has happened to me before. Every time, I have a moment of panic. Yet do you know what saves me? The story itself.

I go back and read it from the beginning. The answer to save the heroes is always there. The story knows even if the author doesn't right away. Yes, it's as simple as that. At least for this pantser!

Have you ever written yourself into a corner? How do you get out of it?

22 comments:

  1. I'm the same. I often write myself into corners, but if I think out of the box, I'll find a way to a solution. :-)

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  2. Hi Christine - it's good things work out - and somehow they always seem to ... getting back into the story from the beginning makes sense to find that elusive ending ... cheers Hilary

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  3. Smart idea.
    I got a little stuck with the ending of my first book. I knew what was to happen and the end result, but I wasn't sure exactly how Byron was going to get in and out of that core chamber. I worked on several scenarios before hitting one that was logical.

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  4. my biggest conundrum is when my characters won't talk to me. How can I encourage them forward if I have no clue what they want. I mean, really!

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  5. Glad you fixed it!

    I wrote a story that could have gone one of two ways (in fact, 2 stories in the same collection), and I had a huge battle between being true to the story, giving the reader what they deserved, and not copping out with the easy option. It was so hard that I had to take a couple of WEEKS before writing the last couple of pages, just so I could be happy with the decision.

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  6. Thinking outside the box is what makes the story more interesting, less predictable. Of course, the solution has to make sense, too. :)

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  7. I often know the ending of my stories about the same time I know the beginning. Now getting them from point A to point Z can be the tricky part. My characters often know what's going on even more than I do, though, so I rely on them to give me the clues to get me there.

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  8. Oh yes, I had to rework my plan several times to figure out how the good guys defeat the monsters. All I knew was that they all had to work together. I think I have it figured out now. At least I hope it turns out that way!

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  9. Yes, I also often find I've planted seeds in my story that I don't realize are there until it comes time to harvest them later on. My subconscious is smarter than I am!

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  10. Luckily, I've never encountered this problem because I always know how a book ends. And I always map out the whole battle before I begin writing it. :)

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  11. I usually know how the climax is going to resolve itself before I start writing, so I don't really have that problem. Of course, that doesn't mean that I won't get to the end and find a logic flaw the negates everything and requires me to start all over. That's when I begin sweating. :)

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  12. I'm really bad at talking myself into a corner too. That also gets the creative escape juices flowing. :)

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  13. I agree one hundred percent! I've done this numerous times and the story always reveals the answers. Not to say there isn't a bit of rewriting elsewhere in the story, but it does seem to solve itself. Honest, I'm just not that smart! LOL

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  14. Going back and re-reading is the best way to work your way out of a corner. That's one thing I like about non-fiction - I don't often end up in a corner.

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  15. When you think about it, isn't that the position the hero would be in? Having to creatively think their way out of the situation. You could feasibly get a better scene from having to work through it front to back like they would.

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  16. Sounds like a great approach. Stepping back and getting some space almost always helps solve plot problems.

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  17. OMG!!!! I can't believe I just happened upon your blog Christine. I needed a distraction to think so I decided to hit a few blogs and your's is my first hop. And you're not going to believe this~~~ But that's exactly where I am right now in my ms!!! I'm at the big climax and you've hit the nail on the head!!!! Since I'm an pantser through and through, I can't see whats before the horse so to say. Thank you for the advice.

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  18. Thanks to everyone for visiting today. I love hearing how other authors write their way out of difficult situations, and I'm glad I could help a few of you out. :) Having another fun week of spring break with my little guy. I'll be catching up with everyone next week!

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  19. There was a story I wrote years ago that I wrote myself into a corner and I never got around to trying to get myself out of it. Maybe one day I'll give it a look.

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  20. Oh wow. I've never looked at it that way, but you're right! It isn't a problem, it's an opportunity.

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  21. The right answer always comes if we let it percolate long enough and are committed to the story!

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  22. Great post Christine! Thanks for the advice and sharing the way out of the problem. I tend to discuss my 'corners' with my mom. She is always great at opening my mind. Have a great weekend.

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