People with a writer’s block should all gather together and build a castle.
That ingenious quote comes from a friend who calls themselves Heather.
For the past two years, I’ve suffered enough from writer’s block to build several pretty fancy castles. 😛
Today, I’d like to talk about something that helped me to officially vanquish my seemingly endless writer’s block.
One of the community activities that I’ve come to enjoy on the Young Writers Society website is participating in my first Storybook. A Storybook has been described by the YWS team as being a text-based roleplaying game. (I’m a total n00b at traditional RP-ing, mind you, and the thought of participating in anything remotely like one intimidated me at first.) Each participant creates a character or two and we brainstorm together about how they’d interact with each other and the established setting. A lot of beautifully intertwined subplots have come to fruition this way.
It’s basically this huge, collaborative novel written by a ton of people who are all there of their own volition. The burden of moving the story forward is shared by us all, and everyone’s there because they want to be there. (AKA, I didn’t have to awkwardly invite/oh-so-subtly beg anyone to participate.) All in all, it makes for a very relaxed writing environment.
In my past solo projects, I’ve been overwhelmed by the endless possibilities for where I can take a story, and that alone would burn me out. It’s like trying to build a castle (to reference Heather’s quote above) all by myself, from an overwhelming abundance of story blocks. I made all the bricks myself, but which plot point should go where, and should that one even be over there? What if I completely overhaul the whole structure and start fresh? Oh, but where did I put that point I actually wanted to keep? Sheesh!
Together, in this Storybook, we’re each contributing a few bricks here and there and using our combined resources – in a coordinated fashion – to build a beautiful castle. Storybooking with my fellow YWS-ers is literally the best novel collaboration this struggling writer could ask for, and it has drawn me out of the dungeon I built for myself of writer’s blocks.