Taking a break from taking a break: no more writer's block

If I could change one thing about myself, it would be my self-doubt. It’s my ambition to write a full length novel. There – it’s out there. I have the same, clichéd dream that many others have. I want to write books. Why do I want to write stories? Not for fame, or for money.

I’m not stupid – I know that the JK Rowling’s of this planet are few and far between. I just want to write because I have ideas. These ideas and the characters that come with them are as real to me, as overhearing another person recounting a tale to their companion on the bus.

I can be vacuuming and a new character will pop into my head, or while listening to one song I can create an entire story inside my head. I try to write these characters out as much as I can in notes, before the idea is lost. Sometimes – if I’m lucky – these characters grow so much, I could never ‘lose’ them.

I write fiction of the ‘fantasy’ genre. I use the term fantasy loosely, because I’m not too sure how to define the genre I truly write in. I mainly write stories with a twist, but I like to explain what’s going on too, in an “aha”  kind of moment. I don’t particularly have a target audience, but I guess it would probably be female, and adult.

The problem I have with writing these complex characters, is the explaining. I have seven stories in progress – although one is pretty much finished. Have I published it? No. Do I think it’s readable? I have no idea. A couple of friends have read my stories, and like following what I write, but I have so many ideas flood into my mind, that I like to start writing them as soon as they appear. That’s how my seven stories emerged.

I first started writing fiction properly when Mini Madam was a baby. She’s five in November. In that time, I’ve created characters who follow very similar themes: Gabby is a guardian angel, Zara is also in a coma but she can’t wake up until she resolves a trauma she can’t remember…

Then there’s Rupert. Rupert is complicated. He’s in a coma, but he’s also a time traveler experiencing an out of body experience. Similarly Jack is also a time traveler – an epileptic one – who travels five years into the past or future each time she has a seizure.

Not your average super powers, but I’m not sure how else to describe them. These stories are all quite short – in that they each won’t reach more than 15,000 words. That’s too short to attempt to publish them, and the thought of extending the length of each story makes me doubt myself. I read loads of books, like Cecelia Ahern, and Dorothy Koomson – but am forever thinking to myself: ‘I couldn’t possibly write like that.’

I talk myself out of things before I even begin. A year ago I heard Lost in Paradise by Evanescence for the first time, and a scene popped into my head. This one scene – which was more a thought from the point of view of the male in the scene – has led to me building an entire story surrounding two characters.

In the year since I have come to know these two characters, I have learned their interests, their goals, hopes and dreams. I know their souls inside and out, and I know their story and how it ends. What I don’t know is how their story starts, because that scene where I first met them was in the middle.

I know what has caused the disequilibrium within the story, where the problem has come from, how it is overcome… but I am blocked. Every time I consider writing the story of Eric and Cadi, I put it off. Their story is here – inside my mind, but I just can’t find a way to begin. All I have so far is 87 words; two paragraphs that fit somewhere inside their story:

“She looks so perfect to me. How can this be happening? How can this be the dream, and that… gloom I feel when I’m not with her be real? 

I refuse to believe it. She turns to look at me and smiles, her eyes lighting as her gaze comes to rest upon me. How can I tell her the truth now? I promised her paradise and that’s where she thinks she is. That’s why she stays  with me.  By telling her I risk losing her for good.”

I’ve considered using this as my beginning, but that’s not what’s in my head. I know what’s in my head – there’s an incident that is pivotal to the whole story, but I don’t know which point of view to use: the victim? News reports? Or another involved party?

Then I overthink it, and nothing gets written. Weeks pass and I still only have 87 words in the middle of an unwritten story. Writers block takes hold, and the hiatus from fiction writing grows longer.

One day soon I will stop procrastinating, and doubting myself. It’s about time I faced my fear, and did it anyway. Today I set myself a date – a challenge. A month from today I will be ready to write this book. On September 13th, 2014 I will take a break from writer’s block, and we will find out together why Eric and Cadi are lost in paradise.

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