The Curse of the Blank Screen.


Something pastoral; a little sylvan relief from the seemingly endless grey that pervades the horizon. Unfortunately, I have a mind that veers towards the grey. Not that I’m a morose or pessimistic person…quite the opposite actually. Yet when it comes to the tales I tell, that is direction my thinking often takes me.

And that mindset isn’t helped in any way when faced with a log-jam of ideas. The setting for some of the new Sloane/Flute encounter was inspired by scenes such as this, but there were so many options, I seemed to spending more time staring at a blank screen than actually writing the thing. Not writer’s block…but writer’s choice. I’m lucky in that respect, to have more than enough ideas, it’s just choosing which one works best. And time is of the essence. Life gets in the way and there are other things calling on your time. So off you go, doing other stuff, in the hope that one of the notions rattling around your head will suddenly take the initiative and leap forward, screaming ‘Take me! Take me!’ Nah.

So I did what I did before: think months ahead and imagine the finished article. There it is, in all its glory, with the words The End typed bold beneath that final sentence. Then I go off and figure a way to grab people’s attention. It works for me, okay?

And this is what I came up with:

It not only gives me a better idea of the tone, it gives me something else on which to concentrate. Guess what? It worked. Not only did I decide upon some of the directions but I also came up with a couple of killer surprises.

Take a step back. Do something different. I know this is associated with the project, but it’s another aspect. Not sure how it works – something to do with left-brain, right-brain perhaps – but I find myself suddenly going ‘YES! That’s the way.’ I still have to write it, but having things clearer in my own mind is a huge help.  And who knows? Maybe in a few months this will be on the shelves.

Givecovers me something to do other than think about the up-coming release of the new play, doesn’t it? Which another exciting prospect in the offing.

I don’t know if anyone else has the same problem…if you could call it a problem…but along with the above mentioned hoo-hah and the play, I’ve also been making notes for the next instalment and it’s kind of getting in the way too. I’m thinking of things that certain characters can get involved with but, reading what’s going on in The Blood-Dimmed Tide, I start to wonder if they’re going to be around for too much longer. Which interferes with the planning of the next one. My Favourite Critic calls it my Grasshopper Mind, always getting fascinated by something before the current project is finished. But it makes for an interesting time, sat in front of that blank screen.

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