Okay no more procrastination. The truth is, I have writer’s cliff. For those of you who’ve heard me talk about this, it’s what other people call “writer’s block,” but I insist on calling it writer’s cliff because I’m not stuck behind a wall. I can see where I’m going. I know I have to get to the the next key moment of my story, I just don’t know how to get there. Somehow I must build a bridge over the cliff. This always takes great effort. Sometimes I’m up for the effort, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I’m like a government contractor, building as little as possible, while standing around and looking at all the bridge building that’s not getting done. Speaking of which, I have to tell this story. It’s a total digression, but then, what isn’t? My son just graduated from high school. When he was a sophomore they began building a parking structure that was supposed to be done over the summer. Three years later, it’s still not done. What’s even worse is that they ripped out the school’s existing parking lot to do it, so now the students have nowhere to park. My son had to arrive at school an hour early each day, or he would have to park more than a mile away. Now here’s the punch line: The parking structure will be ready… Right around the time the state of California raises the legal driving age , thereby making a high school parking structure completely pointless! No wonder the state of California is going broke with such poor planning!
But back to writer’s cliff. How does one build the bridge across it? What materials does one use? And what if you’re too darn lazy to build it? Well if you’re lazy, I can’t help you. Not that I don’t get lazy. When I get stuck in a story, I procrastinate. I write on my blog. I call friends and complain about all the work I’m not getting done. But eventually that gets old. I know the story’s in my head somewhere, as are the solutions to whatever problem is giving me the block. Right now the block is this: I’m toward the beginning of a project, (won’t say which one), and there are just too many characters to introduce early on. If I don’t introduce them, the story can’t move forward, but if I take the time to introduce them, the story takes too long to get started. So what’s the solution? Maybe cut out a character or two? Or combine them? Maybe there are characters I don’t need to introduce until much later? Maybe I can kill off the Mom. That always works for Disney. You think it’s an accident that Disney characters always have dead Mothers? No! It’s because there’s too many darn characters. Get rid of Mom, and that’s one less character to deal with. Maybe I can introduce all the main characters friends at once, instead of one at a time. The problem is, this story is so worked out, pull out a single threat and it unravels. I know I’ll get it figured out eventually, and build that bridge over writer’s cliff. So when do you find that you have the worst writer’s cliff? Is it at the beginning, middle or end of a story?