Every author, in the evolution of their novel, comes to a point on the creation highway where they hit a brick wall. My brick wall for Pegasus Rising, a Nixon French novel, popped up about ten days ago.
My problem was simple. I am an action/adventure writer. Pegasus Rising had reached 77,000 words. It was time to complete the action and the adventure. I had a nice ending in mind, but I could not find a way to put the ending on paper. The characters were stalled on Chapter 42, but the ending was six months away. No matter what I tried, I could not bridge that gap. My characters had just run out of actions I needed to write about.
My primary problem was keeping the flow of the adventure novel.
My first attempt was a massive paragraph of “tell, don’t show”, a long discourse on what the characters had done in the past months. I concluded I had just handed a sleeping pill to each of my readers.
After I deleted almost two pages, my next project was to simply complete the final chapter. Perhaps I could re-establish the creative juices.
It didn’t work. The ideas still refused to flow.
Throughout the novel, the action and adventure flowed without effort. I would be in the shower and an idea would pop into my head. I would be answering an email and an idea would pop into my mind. And, many naps were interrupted by ideas.
However, ten days ago, the ideas dried up. The shower did not provide any new concepts, I answered all my emails, and I was never interrupted during my naps. Had the action been drained from the adventure?
The only time in the next week that I worked on my novel was to change a few small issues in the action or adventure I had already written. I still had some basic concepts for the ending, but those ideas were only a paint-by-number drawing without paint and without numbers.
Two days ago, I forced myself to sit down and write the last chapter. One and half days ago, I rewrote the last chapter. One day ago, I rewrote the rewrite of the last chapter. And, last night I rewrote half of the rewrite of the rewrite. So far, I have written and discarded almost 5,000 words.
As I have previously reported, I wrote six books without any idea of how to write. When I was introduced to the “show, don’t tell” rule, I did some research. My research introduced me to dialogue as a means of showing.
Simply stated: have the characters talk about what has happened, instead of the writer telling what has happened. It is a simple concept, but implementation is not quite as simple.
I have come to two conclusions about my brick wall. One, continuing to hit the wall creates headaches. Two, if I do not continue to hit the wall, I will not break through it. I must, therefore, continue to suffer from headaches.
During this time of the brick wall, my writing periods had shortened. I may only write two or three hundred words before the ideas have cascaded through the hourglass. And I have noticed the action isn’t quite as adventurous. My hero is still as exciting as he was ten days ago, but the author has lost something. Unfortunately, it is now a fight to find the words.
I have discovered one thing as I write this blog. I think I know why I hit the wall. For several weeks, I have been focused on pushing my characters forward, devising new action sequences, or developing new adventures. Suddenly, the novel was going to end. No more action, no more adventure. All stop. Halt, or I’ll shoot.
During the time I have been composing this blog about hitting a brick wall, I have actually been working on a solution to the brick wall. What if I don’t actually end the book? Yes, the novel will eventually end, perhaps in just a few days. However, if I continue to develop additional action scenes, the creative juices will continue to flow. And, I will continue to knock down the brick wall.
My intention is to write several paragraphs, and then decide where to draw the line. At some point, the book must end. However, if I can confuse the thought process, the brick wall will not return before I have actually brought the novel to a halt.