Friday, February 19, 2010

Write with the spirit of an Olympian...

In honor of the 2010 Winter Olympic Game, which my family and I are greatly enjoying watching, please indulge me as I compare my fellow bloggers to Olympic athletes in their efforts to combat writer's block. (It's been a long week.)

Robin has all the grace and elegance of an ice dancer. Her writing flows with lyricism and musicality. When she's stuck she plays something called bedazzled and chuzzles. (I don't know what that is, but it sounds like something a skater would do.)

J.B. in his binge writing rushes down an icy course like a luger or whatever you call an athlete that does that skeleton event. If he falls, he picks himself up quickly and barrels onward.

Trager's methodology is like ski jumping. She heads down a linear ramp until it stops and then shoots herself off, executing a number of fancy tricks before landing somewhere far down the mountain.

Urania hasn't posted her blog, but it is my understanding that sometimes she is like a biathlete whose event is actually ten combined into one. If she is having trouble hitting the target in a story, she switches to another.

Ellen is a little harder. Maybe ice hockey, where the object is to get the puck into the goal while avoiding being sidetracked by defenders. Or, don't laugh, curling, where the players attempt to direct large stones across the rink by sweeping in front of them to clean the ice. (Perhaps I just wanted an excuse to mention curling?)

As for Me, I'm going to go with the snowboard event called the halfpipe, even though I'm sure I have next to nothing in common with the red-headed flying tomato.

In the halfpipe, the snowboarders move from one side of a cylindrical snow tube, gaining momentum to fly above it and perform tricks. When I'm stuck, I find that it helps me to go back to the beginning and work through all of the plot/character issues that have become jumbled in my head. This gives me the drive to then push through to the other side and hopefully go further and faster, with niftier acrobatics.

This is how I've worked as a journalist too. The lead is very important as it directs the flow of the entire article. If I get into the body and find that the building blocks are not falling into place, it helps to redirect by reworking the beginning.

With my current manuscript, I was struggling with some plot choices in Chapter Seven. I knew I wanted to make some changes to the previous six chapters based on critiques/suggestions, and needed to go back and get them on paper to achieve clarity.

I don't have much hope of winning a medal in the Olympics, but maybe this strategy will help me achieve publishing gold. (Wow! And you thought this piece couldn't get any cheesier.)


  1. Funny, Monta! watch out, those women snowboarders were wiping out left and right!! i am surprised you have not likened us to amusement rides on the boardwalk...

  2. Awesome topical blog! I loved it. I can so see Grace attempting to snowboard! Maybe she should in a later novel! There isn't very much snow in Ireland. Thanks for the very fitting description! I agree the lead is the hardest part! Thanks for the insight.

  3. I see I'm not the only one glued to the Olympics. When I'm trying to figure out how curling works, I will refer back to this post.


  4. I love your analogies. Very enlightening. My son played hockey, he was the smallest and probably the fastest on the team. Now when I'm stuck, I'm going to think of him weaving in and around anyone in his way, and I'll keep moving on.