Thursday, May 28, 2009

Writer’s Block in the extreme

How do I get from this:

to a complete final chapter?

This page has been staring me in the face for weeks now from the left side of my desk. Behind this page in my mind’s eye, I can see the movie version playing with all the characters I have introduced and their reactions to Felix as he begins his presentation.

I see the principal giving a very-pleased-to-have-this-young-man-in-our-midst introduction. I see his parents settling into the folding chairs proud as parents can be, I see row upon row of classes increasing in grade level to the back of the room, his friends toward the back, his sisters in the front row. I see his difficult sister coming around, and his shy sister, finally without her thumb in her mouth watching him with a grin from ear to ear. I see the school nurse/confidante and the gym teacher who broke up the fight cheering him on with thumbs up on the side lines. I hear Felix’s thoughts as he surveys the room before he begins to speak, moving from nervous exhilaration to knowing he’s had a lot of support all along, if he’d only recognized it, and now that he does, he knows he can do this presentation better than anyone. His solitary nerves disappear and by virtue of his feelings of support from so many he loves and who love him, he realizes anything is possible.

Really, this of all the chapters should be the easiest to write. All the difficulties he’s gone through are over, the good things are securely in place. So how is it I can’t write the words to put him on stage, in front of the audience for the chapter to occur and wrap up this book?

Everything I’ve said above and more I’ve been saying to myself for a very long time. I’ve been saying them through writing much of the rest of the book, through his trials and tribulations, I have had this scene in mind since the first page was written in 2004, maybe even 2003. All I know is the class I was working in at the time and that it was that class that inspired this idea. Sixth graders, gotta love them. Wow, they must be graduating high school now. And I’m still hung up in this book!

Please, does anyone know how to put his feet on the steps up to the stage to start this ending? I’m killing myself here between knowing what I want to write, the lack of uninterrupted time and sleep that affect the work, and the sheer actual words that will put him on stage. The movie in my head seems to have come out before the advent talkies.

Thank you for allowing me to indulge in my inner dialogue. I figured if I wrote it down and put it 'out there' I might make actual progress - maybe tomorrow.


  1. Uh-oh, this might be a case of "kill your darlings".... ???

    Sometimes I find while I'm writing that my characters do not naturally end up at point C from point B. They end up at point J.

    I say write it both ways. Write one scene to get him on a stage & write a different one, off the cuff, and let the characters play out. See which one you like better - or maybe combine them.

  2. thanks, liz. if i could, i would...tried it in the myself a tad more space to mull it, as opposed to mullet, which is what my growing out short haircut is beginning to resemble...

  3. I often wish for a brain scanner that would take the movie in my head and put it on a paper.

    But I have two ideas: 1. MissHumm22 might be right. If it's so hard to write, it might be because something's not working. Maybe he doesn't go up the steps and the scene you're picturing is later, in his living room, when he gives it to a smaller audience or something.
    2. Have you tried writing it ridiculously poorly? Like purposely writing it as badly as you can?

  4. now writing purposely poorly may have something to it. at least i'd have something down beyond the discussing what i want to happen business. thanks, jacqui. i have definitely written many divergent but ultimately necessary scenes on my way to this one, liz. i just feel like this is what it's supposed to look like, the words just haven't come. i really appreciate both of your suggestions as a way to steer me in the right, or at least A direction.


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