Writer Anxiety

I have a thorny writing problem in my current manuscript. Don't ask me to tell you what the problem is because I don't really know. I just know that there is this uneasiness in the back of my mind when I think about the story as I've put it down thus far. I've found that this vague worry usually means something is wrong with the character or the motivation or the pacing or some other aspect of characterization or plotting.

Gee, that really narrows it down, doesn't it? But I bet that most of you writers out there know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm in the first stage of that infectious disease I call Writer Anxiety.

It's a common disease though little known to the general public. If the symptoms aren't treated immediately, the progression of the disease is slow but inexorable. Eventually, the writer becomes paralyzed and is unable to write the rest of the story. Sometimes, even if a new story is started, the paralysis continues until the writer becomes afflicted with the worst disease known to literary kind, Writer's Block.

Fortunately, I have my tried and true remedies to prevent the escalation of Writer Anxiety. I took the first medication this morning by pulling my dog-eared, broken spin copy of Leonard Bishop's book Dare To Be A Great Writer: 329 Keys to Powerful Fiction from my bookshelf.

That book is now difficult to page through because so many of those pages are broken from the spine and fall out if I'm not careful. I still manage to skim through the different topics - 329 in all - searching for something that my unconscious will recognize.

Ah! It worked. Page 109 talks about Spoken Flashback. In reading the short section, I realize I've got this scene that I've written as a flashback. The scene is important, but the flashback takes away from the pacing in that section. What happens in the flashback is inherently dramatic but doesn't appear so as I have it written. I think what I need to do is make the flashback a scene happening "in front of the reader" not merely a "telling" of the scene from the character's memory. If I didn't already know how to do that, the book shows how.

This book is one of my brainstorming tools. I have many in my writer's toolkit. Do you?