Writing Yourself Into a Corner

There is a house by my husband’s childhood home that is completely round. It intrigues me, this house does. What does it look like inside? Is it broken up into rooms? And do the rooms have corners? We often joke that if you lived in that house you couldn’t put your children in the corner for being naughty.

I wish my stories lived in round houses because then I couldn’t write myself into a corner. Right now I’m stuck on my current work-in-progess. Stuck, stuck, stuck. Like those remote control cars that ram into a corner and keep backing up only to ram into it again. That’s me, banging my head against the corner over and over again, too stupid to realize the corner isn’t going to move, rather I’m going to have to move.

This happens to me, oh, at least half a dozen times while writing a book. Usually I can figure out right away where I went wrong, back up, hit the delete key and try again. But sometimes, like now, I can’t figure it out and it’s darn frustrating. Because I feel like I’m wasting valuable writing time. Yet I’m not really wasting valuable writing time because I’m constantly thinking of where I went wrong and what I need to do to fix it. I have to remind myself to take a step back and just think. Thinking is writing and it’s much better than throwing words on paper hoping something will stick. Now that’s wasting time.

So for the past few days I haven’t written one word on my story. I’m letting it sit, letting the characters talk to me and simply thinking.

What do you do when you write yourself into a corner?

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7 thoughts on “Writing Yourself Into a Corner

  1. Did you write this post for me, Sharon, lol! I just put my WIP on the shelf after 7 starts, 50k finished because it just isn’t right. Ugh. Can’t figure out what’s wrong. Have done the GMC thing for both characters, revised, rewrote, reworked, reread, sent to CPs, crit group, redid GMCs, and still nada! So, I think it just isn’t time for this story to be written and it’s on the shelf to simmer until these stubborn characters decide it is their time. Good luck on yours and if you find the magic key please share it!
    Thanks!

  2. I can so feel your pain Sharon! I have actually put stories aside and not written a word for a few months. Very frustrating. The story will pound in my head trying to work itself out and then one day it’ll just hit me. And it’s usually a simple solution, but still frustrating. Sometimes I’ve found that just working on another story helps, sometimes changing the scene or POV in the story that’s giving me troubles helps and sometimes nothing helps but time.

    Good luck…hope you find your solution soon.

  3. I don’t think I’ve done that yet…yet I say, because I’m still pretty new to this. But I do agree that certain stories have their time when they have to be written, but until that time you’re going to be stuck. With me it’s almost like they are ripening in my mind until I pluck them and write out the matured story. Excellent post, Sharon! Hope this sorts itself out soon for you.

  4. If I write myself into a corner, it’s usually because I’ve written too fast, the story is concluding too fast.

    I don’t know how to help.

  5. I put it away, make it off limits until I can pick it up again without wanting to puke. LOL Sorry to be so graphic but it’s true. When a story frustrates me to the point of making me nauseous, I put it away.

    Usually, and this doesn’t work for everyone, I write something else. If I’m working on a full-length story, I start writing a short (2000 words max). The short gives me fresh perspective, allows my imagination to visit other places, renews my interest and passion for writing.

  6. Oh, I’ve done this so many times…. The bane of every pantser out there….those damned corners…LOL

    I basically do what you do, Sharon…. I stop and think. I go and do something else. Usually the house gets a good cleaning or if it’s warm outside I go work in my garden. I’ll even read or watch movies. Amazing what NOT thinking about a problem will bring a solution to the forefront.

  7. If I stop writing on something it’s generally because I’ve written something that isn’t right. And I don’t want to admit it to myself because that means harder work, cutting things out and directing the story differently! Either that or sit and play with my girls for a while, and let the logistical side of my brain take over the creative side. I hope you get yourself out of your corner soon!

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