Saturday, June 23, 2018

Writing's Difficulties

Writing is seldom easy, and the difficult parts can span a wide range of issues. My most frequent issues deal with things like a temporary shortage of ideas, displeasure with the story's current trajectory, and deciding how far a character will go to get what he or she wants. While some scenes seem to write themselves, others are problematic, displaying empty white space on the screen staring back at me while I think of how to handle a particular situation.

While I start out with a plotline, my last round-robin blog post showed me once I start writing, anything goes, which is where I often run into trouble. I change scenarios, new characters pop in, and my main characters change their minds or make dumb choices.

Questions always abound. What is the next step to take? Should it be a logical expectation or something unexpected? What else might happen? How can bizarre events be linked logically together into the storyline? Will such a change paint the story into a dead-end corner? Is the dialogue meaningful to the story, show something about the character speaking, or just babble? How do I transition from this scene to the next scene? For that matter, when should a scene end? What happens next? Answering these types of questions is the only way that allows me to move the story forward.

One reason I have trouble with contemporary themes is that technology is changing so fast and not mentioning something correctly, not only in a social context but also as used, can affect a reader's belief in the story.

I have left some stories without an ending, whether from lack of incentive or something else that has called me away--usually another story. Often I return later, sometimes a long time later, because I never like the idea of giving up on a story. Writing takes a lot of time and work but if something can be saved and continued, I'll keep trying.

Visit the following author's posts to read their thoughts on this topic.

Dr. Bob Rich
Marie Laval
Connie Vines 
Beverley Bateman
Marci Baun
A.J. Maguire 
Helena Fairfax
Anne Stenhouse 
Diane Bator
Fiona McGier
Skye Taylor
Margaret Fieland

Victoria Chatham


  1. My habit of leaving stories unfinished is what helped me discover the 3/4 Mark issue I was having. Usurper required several months away before I could continue with the storyline, mostly because my brain needed to work out what was happening to a particular character on the molecular level. I totally get this habit, lol

  2. I sometimes run into a blank wall and ask "what next" but I've developed the habit of leaving that space blank and moving on. I can come back later. Often what happens later turns out to be light the light bulb turning on, "OH! That's what was supposed to happen two chapters ago! How come I didn't see that before?"

  3. Hi Rhobin, endings are notoriously difficult. Sometimes I wonder if it's because we've created 'real' people and 'real' lives and in normal circumstances there wouldn't be an ending - just the moving on to the next stage. Anne Stenhouse

  4. I have only written one contemporary book - I mistakenly thought it would be easier than writing historicals. Ha! I had to do as much research because it involved ranching and rodeos, subjects of which I had little knowledge. And endings - I've had readers of one of my titles tell me the ending was too quick. I may get a chance to revise that one.

  5. My goodness, but you sound like me where I'm at right now. LOL It's nice to know I'm not alone in this tortuous journey of writing a story to the end. Is the scene necessary or just filler? Do the readers need to know this information? How much does it really add to the story? Urgh!

    And now, I'm in a corner... I think. I'm unhappy with where I'm going, but I'm kind of stuck. Perhaps I need to stop fighting with the characters and let them show me, huh?

    Great post, Robin!