Monday, August 1, 2011

Choose a Monster

Every once in a while, I find myself unable to continue writing a particular story. Some would call it writer's block, but I don't, because I can switch to another story and do just fine. It only effects one story at a time.

Some times, it means I've gotten too far away from the story the character remembers. If I back up a few pages and veer the story off on a tangent, that's usually enough to get the words flowing again.

At other times, it means I haven't figured out what comes next. This used to happen all the time when I would just start writing a story and see where it went. After half a page or hundreds of pages of writing, I would stop, wonder what should come next, and eventually lose interest. I have a couple file drawers full of those story beginnings.

When I started working out an outline for my stories – however brief an outline it was – I found myself able to get to the end of the story with a lot more regularity. I never used to believe in outlines, and some writers still don't. But if pausing to jot down a few words means I can write the rough draft without pulling out my hair, then it seems worth the effort.

But recently, I found myself 'stuck' again. Not in the middle of a draft – but in the middle of the outline.

The outline is for a paranormal. Something is killing ranchers, hikers, campers, hunters, whoever, in the wilds of Idaho. A local sheriff gets pulled into the investigation, and being a werewolf, he soon knows more than his human cohorts, but still can't figure out what's doing the killing. The Feds get involved and secretly bring in a vampire to help, and the vampire also doesn't know what they are up against.

The problem is, I don't know what they're up against, either. I suppose I'm going to have to do some research, look at ancient mythological creatures, some current possibilities, and choose one. If anybody has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

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