A New Form of Writer’s Block?


That’s my cat, Gandalf.  I was struggling with the plot for my next book when he decided to make himself comfortable on the papers in my lap.  Gandalf is 12 years old and hasn’t been feeling well lately, so I let him stay.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get much work done.  I suppose this is one form of writer’s block I can blame on the cat.  I was bemoaning my lack of productivity to my husband who said, “Of course you didn’t get anything done.  You just cleaned up cat vomit and then he sat on your work.”  He’s good at talking me down off the ledge.  You need someone like that on hand if you’re trying to write.

Titles, characters, and how to say things all come relatively easy for me.  Plot is where I struggle.  I can hear some of you asking, “It’s a picture book!  How hard can it be to come up with a plot?”  To a picture book/early reader author, them’s fightin’ words.  Meet me in the octagon and we’ll settle this like civilized people.

I have to grab the attention of a small person will a small attention span.  If you’ve ever had to entertain a young child, you know how hard that is.  Next time you see a group of kids playing, stop and observe them.  They never stay on one topic or task for very long.  Especially if they’re boys.  Boys are wonderful to watch because they just make up the game as they go along (“OK, now let’s pretend that…”).  Their play is a series of plot twists.

What age-appropriate adventure can I take my main character on this time?  This kid solves mysteries, but I can’t have him breaking up the local crack smuggling ring.  Should I bring in the supporting characters from the first book?  Should I give the dog a bigger part in the story?  I want it to be a little bit scary, but not so much so that it causes nightmares.

Last week, I managed to work out some of the main character’s dialogue.  Since I don’t have a fixed plot, the dialogue is still pretty generic and can be used in a variety of situations.  But the dialogue was what shaped the plot last time, so I may have to content myself with working on that for now.

If Gandalf will let me.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. gpeynon
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 14:43:06

    My cat sits on my laptop all the time when I’m writing, so I feel your frustration. I guess computers are nice and warm…


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