Avoiding Writer's Block
Writer’s block is defined as “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece”. This includes fan fiction authors, from writing a one shot to writing a novel-length piece. Many say it’s what keeps them from continuing a fic, or why a chapter is delayed. But, that’s no fun for anyone; the reader wants their updates, and a writer wants their fic to
flow from the ends of their fingertips. What to do?
Before Writing a Story:
You can prevent yourself so much hassle in the long run if you do these things before writing your masterpiece:
- Write an outline for your plot. Organize it by chapter, clumps of chapters, even from what every single person says from one chapter to the next. You can prevent plot holes, unneeded characters, and boring chapters to use as updates while you think of a new plot device in the future. Even scribbling down bits of dialogue that won’t be used for chapters to come can help reignited inspiration.
- Write character sheets. These can be tedious at the time, but are extremely helpful in managing your original characters, the characters we know little of, and even such characters as Hermione or McGonagall. It prevents OOCness and helps actions and dialogue proceed much easier.
- Write “snippets” of dialogue, description, and anything that comes to mind when you picture a certain scene of your story. When writing in the future, your vision might slightly alter what you originally had in mind. This can be frustrating to your imagination, and it can be helped by referencing back to these snippets.
- Talk it out with a friend. Find someone you can trust and explain your plot/story to them. Encourage deep discussion and tough questions, because there you might find what areas of the story you need to work on. It’s also an effective way to find plot holes. And remember, not just Harry Potter fans need apply. Often times a fresh ear, someone who knows nothing of the HP universe, is exactly what you need to get unbiased feedback.
While Writing a Story:
If you are currently writing a fic and have found the barrier of writer’s block in your path, you can use the following suggestions to beat it into submission:
- Find things that inspire you and surround yourself with them. Many times it isn’t writer’s block so much as a loss of inspiration for the story. Try and find that little thing that inspired you to write the story and “experience” it; whether it was a song, a movie, book, person, news article, flowers, piggy bank, or anything else, have it near you and try to win back your inspiration.
- Take a break from writing and go on a walk. Sometimes, you just need fresh air and some time away from the quill to take a breather. Sometimes that frustration comes from writing too much, and is easily solved with a day off. Do not pressure yourself; often times this worsens your writer’s block.
- Draw. Not everyone can create that Mona Lisa, but everyone can draw what they feel. Scribble, scrabble, recreate the Venus De Milo, it’s up to you!
- Listen to music. Anything that gets you imagining a scene in your mind— even if it’s not a scene from your story— is sure to lend itself in helpful ways. Also, it’s important not to be closed-minded. Go outside the box and listen to songs and genres you usually wouldn’t. You don’t have to become a fan, but you might be surprised just how inspirational a fresh sound can be.
- Writer’s block isn’t the end of the story, it’s simply something you must overcome to continue. There’s no need to get upset, as the best of writers experience the same dilemma.
- Never throw away a story because of writer’s block. Your stroke of genius could be right around the corner, and real writers never cease to send their message simply because of a temporary problem.
- All writers read. Don’t stop picking up novels simply because you’re occupied with your own. Make the time and read at least once every two days, directly before bed being the best time. And, since you’re writing Harry Potter fan fiction, it helps to read snippets of the books as well. Literature is what inspired you to write in the first place, so don’t doubt its ability to inspire you now.