IWSG — When the Going Gets Tough…

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here


June 1 question – When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end?

When the going gets tough, the tough switch things up. If I get bogged down in a scene, I have a few go-to strategies to get things moving again. Sometimes, a short break is all that’s needed to give a fresh perspective — taking a long walk or a hike or watching a movie. Doing something different allows the brain to reset. Other times, I brainstorm, playing the ‘what if’ game to see what comes to mind. I get some of my best ideas that way. Another way I get my brain back in gear is to go to a spot earlier in the story and start reading from there. By the time I get to where I was stuck, the story just flows on through as the characters take over once more.

When all else fails, I jot down actions and dialogue that I know belong in the scene and work through it in phrases and incomplete sentences until I figure out exactly what’s going on with the characters. If things aren’t working, it usually means I’m trying to force the story to go in the wrong direction. Eventually, if I keep at it, the right direction presents itself and the story goes on its way again. The key is to not give up or get discouraged. Perseverance pays off.


Has anyone else ever dreamed about seeing their story up on the big screen? I’m sure the answer is Yes! I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a screenplay for my first book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble. I bought Final Draft 12, the industry standard software and have been dabbling with it. I found it really easy to use and was able to bang out a scene in a short time. I also read two screenwriting books, Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder and Story by Robert McKee, which have been incredibly helpful. Then I discovered the Internet Movie Script Database. It has the actual scripts from so many movies, including Lord of the Rings. What a resource! I’ve been skimming though scripts to get a better feel for how they should be put together. It’s all quite fascinating.

Has anyone else out there tried writing their own screenplays? What software and resources did you use? Did you find it easier or harder than writing a novel? Big screen, here we come!


© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2022. All rights reserved.