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The Enemy Part 2 – The Empty Page

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So I actually managed to get some writing done this week. Whoop for me. I did of course do the cowardly writing thing and actually just re-work material that that I’d already written, but it’s a start, right?

Now however, I face the second challenge when it comes to The Enemy. I have to write new stuff. From scratch. Gulp.

Out of Shape

So, as I mentioned in my last post, it has been a long time since I actually wrote anything. Even longer since I generated new material. There is something much safer about editing isn’t there?  The ‘hard work’ has already been done (though some may disagree)  Editing isn’t as stressful. Let me go back to my overused exercise analogy. Editing is like doing a familiar workout. It can still be tough, but you know the routine, you’re familiar with it. Generating new material is like starting an entirely new workout. You might have some rough idea of where it’s going to go (especially if you’re one of those planners, and not an improvisational writer) but it’s long, it’s tough, and it’s very daunting.

Well this is where I am right now. I’ve come to the end of what’s familiar, and I’m staring at this massive blank expanse before me.

Where do I go?

The man with this plan is Jez Nicholson. It's probably not a writing plan, but a writing plan could look like this! Click for original photo.

This is the major flaw in being an improvisational writer, isn’t it?  I do have some idea of where the story is headed, but there is that unfortunate gap between where I am now in my writing, and where I have more concrete ideas. And I need to fill the gap. How to do that though?

Easiest option would be to just put it to one side and hope it writes itself, right?

Well we can’t do that, can we?  Or should I say, I…

Options Options

I was going to make another list here but honestly, I couldn’t think of one. Making mental notes and brainstorming are my usual processes, but I’m not sure how well they’d work here.

So I guess I’ll have to plan, right?  It would have been so much easier if I’d done this in the first place. But how do you do this?  The planners amongst you will no doubt scoff, and mutter things like ‘I told you so’ and ‘this is what you get’, but even planners can’t (surely) plan out every beat that a story goes. Sometimes you’ll reach a point where you have point A, and then Point B, but no bridge to get you there. The simplest advice is probably just to go straight from point A to point B (especially in script writing). It’s that maxim again isn’t it?  Start a scene as late as you can, and end it as soon as you can. Short, snappy, to the point.

Which is very good advice, which I should probably follow more often. But sometimes, just sometimes, you can’t do that. Sometimes the void is too big.


I’ve never been a fan of filler, neither in content and especially not as a writer. If it isn’t interesting to write, then its not going to be interesting to read, is it?  But the filler needs to be written. The in-between bits. And the challenge is to make it interesting. And this is I think the problem I have with my piece. I know where I need to get to, but to get there, the characters have to make a rather uninteresting journey. ‘Make it interesting!  Throw some curveballs in there!’ you might scream. If you’re partial to sporting metaphors. Thing is, I have so many random curveballs in the narrative as it is, throwing in more will only complicate things further.

So, I am not so much offering half baked advice this week, more asking for it. How do I proceed, dear readers?

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  • http://getmewriting.com Matt Roberts

    Here’s something that seemed to ring true to me (though I haven’t tried it yet). Plus, Randy has a moustache you can trust!

    You might find doing character bios helps generate the interactions you need for this material as well. 

    It sounds like (and this may be the language you used) your characters are going on some kind of journey. Destination – next plot point! But it’s worth remembering that journeys are often the most important bits in a novel, and the major events are only really major when given the context of the journey. How might their journey make the events that follow more significant?