Challenge Writer's Block Discussion and Challenge Thread- Block Breaker 7 - 3/15/15

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by mavjade , Jan 11, 2015.

  1. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Welcome to the Writer's Block discussion and Challenge thread.

    Many writers suffer from writer's block -or as we sometimes like to call it around here Darth Writers Block- and it can be infuriating and seem endless. While this thread is going to be geared toward those who currently feels as though their muse has left them or is sliding away, everyone is welcome to participate.

    I hope this thread will be a way for us to help each other out of writers block and to get back to writing. There will be some discussion and there will be writing challenges.

    Each week there will be a 'Block Breaker', a list of things that hopefully will open your muse to an idea, or many. There will be multiple things to spur you or it on: words, pictures, quotes, songs, ideas, etc. There will also be a character from the movies since this is a SW fanfic forum so that if you have no ideas as to who to write about, you can use them. (We'll be sticking to movie characters for now so that everyone can participate, though they may be obscure movie characters.)

    The idea is that you write something. It doesn't have to be long, a few sentence is better than nothing, right? And hopefully when you just write something your muse will remember how to get things going.


    1. Write something! Anything! At least once a week, and post it!

    This is really the only rule. It can be 200 words long or the start of an epic, it doesn't matter. Don't worry if it's good or not, don't worry if it doesn't have an ending, or a beginning or if it's just a rambling mess, it's all about the writing!​

    You don't have to write something for every prompt or use the given character, you can use or not use whatever you want. If you want to use a prompt from a previous week, great!​

    If you miss a week because you were gone, you forgot, your just didn't want to get out of bed, that's okay! Don't beat yourself up, just move on and start again the next week.​

    2. Keep all your writings to one thread, unless of course it does become a larger piece.

    If something does kickstart your muse and it becomes longer, feel free to start it's own thread. If something is short this week and then later becomes larger, you may also post it in it's own thread, even if the shorter part is already posted in your Writer's Block thread.​

    I know picking an era for this type of thing is hard, just pick the era you usually prefer or think you might write the most in, but don't hold yourself to sticking with that era. We can always change it later.​

    3. When you've posted for the week, let us know in this thread so we can cheer each other on.

    Let us know which prompt you used and if you have a why, tell us! Let us know your thought process and how you've broken through your DWB this week. (The why you used the prompt and process is optional, but it may help other people, so if you can it would be great!)​

    Feel free to link to the post where you've posted each week.​

    You can start or stop the challenge anytime, there is no set start or end date.​

    Completely Optional Parts

    Some of us do better when we are 'held accountable' for something and don't do as well with open ended things. If you are one of those people, then the following may help. Feel free to do one of them, both of them or neither.

    • When you post in this thread that you've posted what you've written tell us how many weeks you've kept it going. If you miss a week you have to start over, but keep track of your record and try to break it. Tell us about it when you've broken your record!

    • Keeping track of your word counts is also a way to be held accountable. If you see that you have only written 300 words last week and 200 words this week, you may try and write more the next time. Feel free to let us know how many words you wrote weekly and keep a tally of your total word counts for these prompts.

    Basically this thread is about being supportive of each other, giving and receiving advice, and Forcing Darth Writer's Block to take a hike (ha ha Forcing DWB, see what I did there). Even if you don't have writer's block, participating in this thread may help you write something new, or just help others that are having writer's block by sharing your own experience

    I've got a huge list of prompts, characters etc., and some discussion ideas but please send me any ideas you may have!
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  2. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Block Breakers and Discussion Index
    Due to the size of some of the Block breakers, there are links to the specific post where they are posted. Please feel free to use any Block Breaker or bring back up a discussion at any time.

    Block Breaker 1
    Block Breaker 2
    Block Breaker 3
    Block Breaker 4
    Block Breaker 5
    Block Breaker 6
    Block Breaker 7

    Discussion 1 - Do you currently have DWB? How long? What does it feel like to you/what happens when you try to write? If no, have you had DWB in the past? How long did it last? Did you do something to help it go away or did it just go on it's own?

    Discussion 2 - Do you feel like DWB is connected to anything like mood, time of year, how busy you are, etc.?

    Discussion - Brought up by divapilot. Stackpole has an idea of what cause writers block. Is it the same for you?
  3. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
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  4. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I'm going to try and post Block Breakers on Sunday, but depending on the week it may be early in the day or later. There probably will not be discussion every week, maybe every few weeks, but please feel free to discuss whatever comes up!

    Block Breakers are going to be numbered, but only for clarity purposes. If you want to hold yourself to doing one or more from each week that's fine, but you don't have to do so.

    Block Breaker 1

    Word Prompts:

    I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse. –Florence Nightingale

    Between a rock and a hard place
    -Being faced with two difficult choices; a dilemma



    Star Wars Character:
    The character is always going to be highlight to read. I feel like if you see the character, then they will be on your brain. I've put the character last so that if you didn't get any ideas from the above, then look at the character and think about them and something from the above.

    [hl=black]Han Solo[/hl]


    Do you currently have DWB? How long? What does it feel like to you/what happens when you try to write?
    If no, have you had DWB in the past? How long did it last? Did you do something to help it go away or did it just go on it's own?
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  5. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 6

    Nov 7, 2010
    Discussion: My issue with DWB is that I critically have to have at least one of two things to get anything written:
    1. a hard, inflexible deadline imposed by someone else that I have no direct control over, or
    2. other people waiting for me to get it done, who need to see it by a certain time (which kicks back to #1).
    Bonus if I have both, such as in the fic-gift exchange.

    Anyway, I think this is why I so rarely write pure fanfic: a fresh fic has no deadline other than one I might try to impose on myself (which never works), and prior to posting has nobody waiting for it.

    So this is why I spend so much time writing for my sports-based RPG: the season moves along at a steady pace whether I post or not, meaning that I have to post when my plot dictates or be left behind (#1, in that the deadline is imposed by my inflexible plot and various things preapproved with the gamemaster that I can no longer change), and as other people will need to respond to my posts and take them into account in their own posts, I need to post early enough that they have time to post their response without falling behind themselves (#2).
    Ewok Poet and mavjade like this.
  6. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 4, 2011
    My muse is only alive for RPs lately. I actually write, and I'm prolific. However, I'm also interacting with someone.

    Darth Writer's Block drops by spontaneously, and leaves just as randomly. Like I said, I'm good for RPs. I'm in three, currently. It's just fanfic where I'm stuck. I'm also still a bit burned out, as when I look at my unfinished fics, I just feel tired.
    Ewok Poet, mavjade and jcgoble3 like this.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    mavjade What a great idea! @};- DWB does not strike too often but usually when it does, it seems to revolve around how to get characters from Point B to C. :p Song lyrics or lines of dialogue will quite frequently get things moving again. I'll think "Hey, that's a good way to get them communicating again. That's very close to something they'd say to each other." :) What it sounds like in chatting and comments by other authors, their DWB seems to arise from having too many ideas at once for a great story - so it's which one to pick and how to get things off the ground.
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  8. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Recently for me, I want to write, I start something and then I feel like what I've written is crap or has no where to go. I've looked back at things I used to write and then things I've written recently and the older things are much better. I then think to myself, "aren't you supposed to improve, not get worse?" and I stop.
    Or I have an idea, I sit at my computer and... nothing. It's completely gone, even if I wrote down the idea. I'm hoping my muse is just out of practice and a little kick start will get her going again! :)

    I have the exact same problem, and it's not limited to fanfic. I pretty much need a deadline for everything or it won't happen. I can impose a deadline on myself, but that usually doesn't help because I of course can move it.

    That's why I thought something like this might help. Yes, it's a self-imposed deadline, but also one that is publicly accountable. It might not work, but since it's not something that has to be 100% complete, I think it just might... at least for me.

    Yep, same thing happens to me at times. Knowing something is unfinished bothers me, but when I go to work on it, I sometimes feel overwhelmed and if I don't have a clear idea of where it's going, I sometimes just don't even try. That's why I think having short little prompts where you can use or not use as you choose, white something as long or as short as you want might help stimulate the muse. It's nothing to stress about, just write what comes and that's fantastic!

    Thanks for the great thoughts Nyota's Heart ! While personally I don't find having too many ideas gives me writer's block, more like writer's indecision :p but I can see that happening to others. To me, having more ideas would be great! I could imagine out each scenario and see how it would play out. But like you said, sometimes getting from one point to another can be a problem. You may know where you want to go after that, but you have to get there first.
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  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    I remember saying smugly in FFAMA that DWB doesn't hit me all that often, and I should have kept my mouth shut because it's kind of hitting me now :(

    I'm usually very slow to start writing something -- I normally let an idea mature in my head for a looooong time before I put pen to paper, so when I finally start there's something cathartic about it. My problem is when my idea is incomplete -- e.g. for the last few months, I've been stuck on an original fic I'm writing because I can't figure out the sub-plot that would give depth to the main plot, so even though I have a core story and some characters I really like, I can't make progress because I feel it's stunted.

    Another thing I have difficulty with, unlike jcgoble3, is writing against a deadline. I have real problems coming up with a story in a limited amount of time, and the challenges here are a good learning experience for me.

    Lastly, as Nyota's Heart said earlier, I have a problem with too many ideas clashing in my head -- for the current OC Revolution challenge for instance, I started working on a first piece, then I had another idea and I started working on another, and now I'm stuck because they're both demanding my attention and neither gets done. I get very upset at myself when that happens :mad:

    The good news is that, because I'm always working on several things at a time and I'm always making progress on at least one of them, I can pretend that it's not really DWB -- I just get stuck on a specific story :p

    mavjade I won't be using the prompts for the time being, because the last thing I need right now is to get stumped on yet another story ;) but I'll participate in discussions of course. Just a question: since we're apparently not doing a word count thread as was suggested after the word race, can we use this one to post word counts of stuff we write in general?
  10. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    This is why you should never say such a thing! It's like saying, "Well things couldn't get worse." They can ALWAYS get worse. :p

    That's the beauty of this, you don't have to write a story! It can be a drabble, a few sentences, a scene, a few paragraphs, whatever comes to you. It doesn't have to be a story. :)

    As for the word counts, let me think on it for a few and I'll get back to you.
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  11. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 4, 2011
    So long as it's sfw, would I be able to use any RP responses I write?
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  12. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Do you mean for the prompts? RP tends to be very much like fanfic, especially when written out, so as long as it's sort of fanfic-ish (as in narrative, or dialogue, or exposition, etc.) like they are here in the RPF, and you post them in a thread in either SW fanfic or NSWFF, I think that should be fine.
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  13. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 4, 2011
    I'll try to incorporate a prompt into my RPing, so yes. That is, if I utterly fail with writing anything else.
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  14. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    You can alway interpret the prompts any way you want to. I've written one for paranoid that isn't really paranoia (as in, it's not paranoia if they are actually out to get you), but it invoked the feeling with me, and that's just what I ended up writing.

    And on that note, here is my thread: Mav's Meandering Muse
    I promise I didn't start these before yesterday... I picked the prompts right before I posted them. :)

    I try not to think too hard on the prompt and let my brain go where it does. Sometimes that means they are pretty short and not really a full story, but more like a little musing of a character. I also didn't try to hard on any one prompt, if nothing came pretty much right away, I moved on.
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  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh I understand that, and I think the prompts you chose are brilliant, but my problem isn't to write in general -- I'm churning out words by the metric ton -- it's to write some specific stories I have in mind but for which the plot isn't "ripe" yet. I guess the prompts could be a good exercise for me to write something I don't have a plot for yet though... [face_thinking]

    And now I'm going to watch your new thread to make sure I read your ficlets/drabbles when I get home. Mav fics, yay! [face_dancing]
    mavjade likes this.
  16. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    After thinking on it and discussing it with a few others, I'm going to say no. For someone who may be struggling to write a few hundred words, seeing someone who can easily write a few thousand without thinking about it can be a little discouraging. Sorry!

    On that topic in general, I was think about it last night and if it's something you want to keep track of, putting your yearly goal in the Resolutions thread might be a good idea. You could then keep monthly track or something like it in a signature. Just a thought. :)
    Chyntuck likes this.
  17. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    While I'm one of those freaky people with no discipline, whatsoever; I welcome this exercise, as it might help me get my everyday chaos in order, to a certain extent. Usually, I have a problem with deadlines. When there is none, I am an overachiever, as soon as one comes up, I am an underachiever, an outright Hutt, wallowing in own slime or something like that.

    As a matter of a fact, this thread reminds me of what a former person of interest and his best friend were doing: each day they would open a random book and pick three words to base a poem on. Every day there was six new poems to read and it was fun!

    As for the discussion itself, I could say that the thing Chyntuck and Nyota's Heart pointed out - too many ideas in my head - actually causes me (D)WB. With too many thoughts racing, too many things in life to catch up with, my concentration goes from level 11, Formula One driver to level -5, Ralph Wiggum on sugar.

    In fact, it was writing my first fic on here that got me somewhat out of the (D)WB. I still need to finish some proper poems that have been brewing for far too long, some educational articles, short stories and a couple of humorous pieces for my blog and, recently, I've been even struggling with PMs and e-mails. My habit to leave one paragraph, continue onto the next and end up with five aborted paragraphs does not help this, either.

    mavjade, one thing I would like to recommend is to add a choice of a canon character the first time somebody from EU/Legends comes to your mind; as one week may not be enough to explore somebody new for people who may be having trouble catching up with the GFFA due to its size.

    Chyntuck - I get the thing about plot being ripe, as I have bits of various stories for here as well as whoomping 100+ drafts for both stories and articles/listicles on my blog; which is why I think that this thread is a good idea to explore things that may never fully bloom.

    jcgoble3, I salute you for being so responsible in terms of deadlines.

    TrakNar, I am curious to see whatever you will come up with, as I'm not familiar with roleplaying beyond children play.

    For example...

    1. Genre-combos that don't make sense
    2. Character studies (thanks to Kahara in whose story's summary I found this useful term)
    3. Outright bat$h1t crazy stuff, e.g. thoughts that mix in one's head when one's falling asleep and reaching for their phone, tablet, laptop or pen and paper to write them down.
    4. Dreams one had of SW-related stuff.

    One just never knows when and if one or these could explode into something bigger and better. And, if not, it can be fun! :)

    All of the above said, here is my thread, with a short story named It Burns! - straight from the Cloudcuckooland.
  18. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh, this is a most excellent idea for a thread! [face_dancing]=D=

    For me, I have to second (third, fourth it looks like ;)) the too many ideas often causing a 'back up', so to speak, for the muse. Even at my worst moments of DWB, I generally have dozens of ideas going, and sometimes its hard for my mind to slow down and sort through what it sorts through. With that often comes my getting 'stale' or running out of steam on a story, because my mind and interest is already leaping ahead to my next idea - which often wrecks havoc on my poor readers. The added stress of coming up with something - anything - to post can sometimes add a whole other 'writing cramp' to the mix; the mingled pressure to force out an update along with feeling forced while you write is never the best way to go about writing. :oops:

    I've found that keeping ficlet threads is a great cure for my own DWB - much as is the premise of this thread and challenge. That way I am constantly purging myself of my ideas, and thus, keeping my mind steady enough to work on longer projects. (Even if my 'ficlets' often turn into ~10,000 word beasts that could very well stand on their own. Word-counts ranging on the obnoxious side are also a way to unwittingly lure in DWB - as I've experienced one too many times myself. :rolleyes:) Really though, I've found that sitting down and just writing - forcing your way through the block, no matter what - works wonders for me, even if I do not like what I initially come up with. It always seems to pay off in the long run. That seems to be the idea as a whole behind this thread, though, so I am excited to see this up and going!

    I already have a beast of a ficlet thread going on the NSWFF side of things, and I don't necessarily want to start another one for the aforementioned idea-overload, but I may stop in and swoop up a few of these prompts if and when inspiration strikes. [face_thinking] Thanks for hosting the thread mavjade, I am sure that I can speak for all when saying that it is appreciated. :D [:D]
  19. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I can certainly appreciate too many ideas that many of you are stating! I used to have that problem, but in the past year or so, it's like pulling teeth trying to have a decent idea. I think mostly I'm doing it to myself, I over think things and any idea that does come to me, I find a way that it couldn't happen. [face_plain]

    That sounds like such a fun idea! :D If I weren't so terrible at poems, I might give that a try. ;)

    As of right now, I have enough canon characters that aren't obscure to last almost half a year, so I'll be going with them first, but if it does come to using EU characters, that's a great idea! I'm trying to avoid using characters people might not know.

    Glad to see your thread! :D

    Exactly! At least personally, I'm hoping that just the act of writing something and not letting myself think about it too much will allow my muse to remember how to do this. :)
    Please swoop away!
  20. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    I always suffer from writer's block. That wasn't always the case, except for intermittent periods, but in the last several years it has become a perverse and unwanted companion that doesn't know how to find the door and LEAVE. :mad:

    The reasons why I suffer from WB are twofold: because I have such a huge lack of self-esteem that I'm programmed to hate everything that I try to write. Admittedly there were some outer influences that caused me to doubt my works (such as some trollish EU fans that caused me pull all of my fics from since I wasn't following the canon universe). The other reason is that I sometimes have no ideas, but other times I get too many ideas which causes my mind to go into overtime thinking mode that leaves me exhausted. Also there is the pesky influence of real life which is persistently trying to remind me that I'm only a robot serving the needs of others rather than an independent being capable of creative, this is turning rather too confessional...enough. :D

    I don't know what to do to conquer DWB at this point. I can try writing something, but that inner voice always pops up and says, "You know, this is terrible. You always write such crap, darling. Nobody wants to hear anything you have to say, even if it's written. Stop before you embarrass yourself even more than you already do, idiot (actually it's a particularly nasty curse word that I often call myself during these moments)". Maybe the only solution is to keep writing and not give up? :confused:
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  21. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    leiamoody - Thanks for joining us!
    I'd be willing to bet most of us suffer with self-doubt -I know I do- and the trolls repliers on other sites certainly don't help (which is why I'm glad we don't allow that here)! I think you've already said the best piece of advice in this situation... keep writing and don't give up! When that voice says those nasty things, tell it to go away. I know this is much eaiser said than done, we are much harder on ourselves than each other in most cases, but practice makes things eaiser. :)
    Chyntuck likes this.
  22. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Another victim of DWB here. Thank you for starting this thread.

    I've been trying to get past a nasty case of writer's block for a little over two years now. I've tried everything I can think of: forcing myself to write, taking a break from writing, doing NaNo, going to local writers' meetings, and so on. There are some external factors coming into play as well, which doesn't help. Every once in a while on a particularly good day, I'll really want to write, and I can't wait until I can get home to write, and then I finally get home and just sit and stare at the blank word processing screen, all enthusiasm gone.

    A few months ago I read a book called "The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism and Writer's Block" by Hillary Rettig. I swear it felt like she'd written that book specifically for me. I procrastinate, I get very perfectionist with my writing ("If I can't write this sentence perfectly the first time, then doggone it, I'm not going to bother writing it!"), and all those directly contribute to my writer's block. The book had good ideas and good exercises, and it's helped me in other areas of my life, but my block and those associated bad writing habits are so ingrained now that I'm honestly worried I'll never be able to break out of them.

    Hey, this post is the most I've written in weeks, LOL. :p Thanks for that! [face_peace]
  23. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Chosen One star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    Is Cushy allowed to take part in the discussions here?
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  24. TrakNar

    TrakNar Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Apr 4, 2011
    I don't see why not. Writer's block is writer's block, regardless of what's being written.
  25. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Chosen One star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    Cushy has had the WORST case of DWB regarding my Tribute for Sir for over two years. Admittedly, some of the root cause is my folly but it's just so hard to trust my heart anymore after so much damage and tears shed. :(
    Chyntuck likes this.