Monday, February 2, 2009

It's Fiction!

I had an epiphany today.

After my most recent frenzy of writing, I've now been blocked -- again -- for a few weeks. I've tried every trick I know, and still nothing. So I went looking for tricks I didn't know. Yay for Google.

A quick Google search led me to a preview of a book called Unstuck by Jane Anne Staw, which appears to be a book based on the premise that writer's block stems from past trauma about writing. While I don't necessarily buy the premise, I'm always up for a bit of self-therapy, so I started thinking, and lo and behold there was in fact a traumatic writing event in my past. While I believe that my current bout of block stems from lack of planning rather than this incident, I think it may be the cause of some other problems I've been having, and ... well, I feel the need to share.

I was a rather precocious child; I skipped 1st-3rd grades. I was also apparently a pretty good young writer, and very empathetic even when I was little. This combination led to The Story. What I remember about this story is rather limited: I wrote it in one sitting, and it profoundly moved me; I remember being very sad for the protagonist. I also remember that it was 100% fiction. It was about an abused child (no memory of gender) with a brother named Joey. I also remember that it caused a family Crisis.

My teacher was impressed with my story; so impressed that she didn't believe it was fiction. My parents were called to an impromptu parent-teacher conference because the teacher was concerned that I or someone I knew was being abused. One conference and the crisis was over. I don't remember this part. For all I knew, Child Protective Services was questioning my parents.

This was twenty-odd years ago, and I never wrote fiction again. I didn't even think of The Story until today. I breezed through research papers and essays, read everything I could get my hands on, and plastered memorized song lyrics all over my high school notebooks. I loved blank books, even though they stayed blank. When blogs appeared I wanted one. I wanted to write. I just thought I had nothing to say.

Finally last year, I bought a book on writing with the Borders gift card I'd gotten for Christmas (Your First Novel, by Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb). I bought this particular book because the entire first chapter spoke to me. It said, "See, you do have something to say!"

I started my novel that same month.

Thank you, ladies. You helped me get writing again after way too long.

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