About a week ago, we brought you David Silverman’s advice on overcoming creative blocks. Time now for Round Two:
by David Silverman, MA, LMFT
More creative fixes for screenplays, novels, plays, pottery collections, or architecture blocks, from a verteran tv/film writer, journalist and licensed psychotherapist. For a direct free phone consult with the author, on writing, creativity or therapy, click here.
6. You’re bored with all these characters, they won’t do anything.
Characters who won’t do anything (or don’t want to do anything) are boring characters. When you thought of them, they seemed like cool characters and you felt good about them. But they don’t drive the story. Maybe you have the supporting cast. Examine the flow, follow the theme, attitudes, and the logic. Maybe something’s missing from a character who could be the protagonist. A fatal flaw? A duty, to save someone, to repay a debt. What do they really want? Two characters need to have a strong conflict. Is that what’s missing?
7. You keep imagining the things people are going to criticize about your work, and it’s paralyzing.
You’re picturing rejection letters, or depressing phone calls from your agent. Why waste time? Suddenly this idea doesn’t feel like a winner. Why not start something new? That may work. Start another project, then when you get to a natural pause, set that aside. Go back. Another way: Drown out the inner critic. He is necessary for the rewrite, but the first draft, drown him out. Blast the Stones. When self-critical self-talk occurs, STOP, and get up and do something else. Make coffee. Stop negative thinking, center yourself, clear your head and write.
8. You can’t think of the right words for what you’re trying to convey.
This time, you’re in the flow – the story is unfolding, the theme, attitudes, emotions, logic is all flowing. Characters are being revealed. Surprises, twists, it’s great. But you’re stuck on some words. Maybe it’s dialogue or even story action. You know your story, but this dialogue sucks. You can’t think of a clever way to hide some exposition.