Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Writer’s Block

A Game That Could Help Folks with #WritersBlock or Let Writers Without a Block Have Some Challenging Fun :-)


As of this post, there are 6 articles on games and writing (if you take <— that link, you’ll see this post since it has the tag “games”—just scroll down to see the others…). Elegy for a Dead World

I, personally, have found (being a bit of a gamer in my time) that the creative decision-making in certain games and the “story” creation in some world-building games are close analogues to what happens inside me when I write.

So, Laurie Vazquez “…writes about science and technology for Popular Science, TIME, and FiatPhysica.”

She recently wrote an article called, How One Video Game Helped Me Overcome Writer’s Block.

I’ll share just two excerpts from her article:

Elegy for a Dead World is a game we’ve written about but never played before. Created by indie developers Dejobaan Games, Elegy puts players in the position of an astronaut exploring three beautiful, abandoned worlds. All are colorful and rich, but desolate and broken. Their designs are inspired by three landmark poems: Ozymandius by Percy Shelley, When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be by John Keats, and Darkness by Lord Byron. It is the astronaut’s – and player’s – job to investigate each world, catalogue the remains, and piece together the mysteries of each civilization by completing 27 writing challenges. The worlds are merely prompts for writing, and the goal of the game as Dejobaan sees is it is ‘everyone can write’.”

After going into detail about her experience playing the game, Laurie says:

“By the time I’d gotten to the end, I was sad I was finished. So I went and played through the worlds again with different prompts. Now that I’d found my groove and trusted my writing abilities again, it was a joy — and that is the great secret of this game. Elegy does everything it can to inspire you.”

The game is out for Windows, Mac and Linux.

And, on the game’s site they say:

“In Elegy for a Dead World, you travel to distant planets and create stories about the people who once lived there.

“Three portals have opened to uncharted worlds. Earth has sent a team of explorers to investigate them, but after an accident, you are the sole survivor. Your mission remains the same: survey these worlds and write the only accounts of them that outsiders will ever know.”

If you go to that last link, you’ll see how much effort they’ve put into designing an experience that lets Anyone write :-)

Plus, so many writers say the way to break writers’ block is to just write, whether it’s one word over and over or gibberish or copying the back of a cereal box—seems this game might be a bit better than those mindless acts

And, here’s a video about it:

Plus, here are selected preview articles and other mentions:

And, one last video with the game’s project leads, Ichiro and Ziba (be aware the guy interviewing them is Way Too Excited :-)


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#WritersBlock ~ Is It Real or Just a Figment of Your Imagination?


If you’re a writer, you may feel you’ve experienced writer’s block—if you’re not a writer and know one, share this article with them… 

So, some writers are sure this blocking is real—some (like me) never have it

My Best Friend (an exceptional author) feels that any block for a writer isn’t really about their ability to write coming to a stop—more like another kind of hindrance—a holding of part of themselves away from themselves.

At least that’s what I’m interpreting my writer-friend meant

So, what if it is a figment of imagination?

What’s a “figment”?

My Oxford dictionary says: “An invented statement , story , doctrine , etc.”.

Hmmm

If we consider fiction writers, their whole purpose is to invent statements, fabricate stories, create doctrines, etc.

Hmmm

So, if writer’s block isn’t “real” but only a figment, a writer should be able to write their way out of it, right?

But, for those who still feel it as a reality, I’ll share some excerpts from an article on LifeHacker-AustraliaThe 10 Types Of Writers’ Block (And How To Overcome Them).

All I’ll share here are the 10 types (with my brief comments)—do go to the full article for their ways to overcome it

1. You can’t come up with an idea.

All I’ll say here is that you might want to consider rephrasing that—I can’t seem to come up with an idea

2. You have a ton of ideas but can’t commit to any of them, and they all peter out.

This one seems over-complicated in its expression—my advice: pick one, commitment or not, and start writing—if that peters out, pick another and continue

3. You have an outline but you can’t get through this one part of it.

I had a detailed outline for my short novel—it was bleeding to death from slashes and overwrites by the fourth chapter—I “rewrote” the outline

4. You’re stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.

Well, make something up—use those figments that are always lying around; and, if you don’t see any figments, make some up :-)

5. You have a terrible feeling your story took a wrong turn a hundred pages back, and you only just hit a dead end.

Shame on you—back up 110 pages and reviseIf you still hit that “dead end”, back up further and start again

6. You’re bored with all these characters, they won’t do anything.

Well, they are Your characters—you’re responsible for what they do (usually). Perhaps you need to reconsider the plot—maybe the characters don’t like what you expect them to do and are just on strike.

7. You keep imagining all the reasons people are going to say your story sucks, and it paralyses you.

If this one doesn’t sound like something besides “writer’s block”—perhaps lack of self-confidence or an overactive imagination—you might want to consider throwing the whole thing away and writing, instead, your autobiography

8. You can’t think of the right words for what you’re trying to convey in this one paragraph.

Oh, my—set it aside for awhile? Back up 10 paragraphs and start over?

9. You had this incredibly cool story in your head, and now you’re turning it into words on a screen and it’s suddenly dumb.

Oh, my, again—grab a few figments and create another cool story!

10. You’re revising your work, and you can’t see your way past all those blocks of text you already wrote.

My response for this one is to quote part of what the full article says about it:

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you’re getting stuck during revisions, that’s not any type of Writer’s Block (as nebulous a concept as Writer’s Block is), but rather just the natural process of trying to diagnose what ails your novel.”

Check out the whole article—share it with other writers—let me know what you think in the comments :-)
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At War With Ourselves . . .


I’ve begun reading a book that can help writers, as well as any other creative person; as well as, anyone, who may think they’re not creative at all, bring their creativity into the light of day

All of us have a certain degree of creative potential—few of us use it efficaciously

There are many theories out there that attempt to explain why people don’t, or think they can’t, use their creative gifts.

But, descriptions of “why” aside, what happens is:

We have anything from a neat idea to a major endeavor strike our minds

We toy with it, play with it, maybe jot down some notes, perhaps draw up a plan

Then, we don’t do it.

What’s wrong with us?

Why do we treat ourselves this way?

What can we do about it?

Perhaps, read this book:

Steven Pressfield‘s   The War Of Art

Folks have said:

“Think of The War of Art as tough love—for yourself.

“Since 2002, The War of Art has inspired people around the world to defeat “Resistance”—to recognize and knock down dream-blocking barriers and to silence the naysayers within us.

“Resistance kicks everyone’s butt—and the desire to defeat it is equally as universal. The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

“Though it was written for writers, it has been embraced by business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, military service members and thousands of others around the world.”

“As I closed The War of Art, I felt a surge of positive calm. I now know I can win this war. And if I can win, so can you.”
From the foreword by Robert McKee, screenwriting guru

“[The War of Art] aims to help readers channel creative energy, unlock potential and overcome the fears that stop us from reaching our fullest potential. With courage, following the right formula and working hard, the book proposes that passion can be turned into purpose.”
Ellen Degeneres book pick

” Resistance is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise. . . . [Steve Pressfield is] the godfather of the resistance, the five-star general in the war against fear.”
Seth Godin

“A vital gem . . . a kick in the ass.”
Esquire

“I’ve never read a self help book that wasn’t fatuous, obvious and unhelpful. Until The War of Art. It’s amazingly cogent and smart on the psychology of creation. If I ever teach a writing course this would be one of the first books I’d assign, along with the letters of Flannery O’Connor.”
Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and Brightness Falls

“Yes, The War of Art is hell. But Steven Pressfield is our Clausewitz who shows how you too can battle against The Four Horsemen of The Apologetic: sloth, inertia, rationalization and procrastination. Shakespeare, Rembrandt and Beethoven all are proof of what you can do with talent and General Pressfield.”
Frank Deford, author and NPR commentator

“A marvelous help for anybody who has ever encountered the resistance of a blank page, an empty canvas or an unyielding musical scale.”
Stan Berenstain, co-creator of The Berenstain Bears

And, here are just a few quotes from the book:

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

“We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.”

“It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself,. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.”

Plus, one last Super Quote :-)

“. . . None of us are born as passive generic blobs waiting for the world to stamp its imprint on us. Instead we show up possessing already a highly refined and individuated soul.

“Another way of thinking of it is: We’re not born with unlimited choices.

“We can’t be anything we want to be.

“We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny. We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become. We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it.

“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
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A Few Videos To Help Spark Your Creativity


Regular readers might remember the posts I’ve done that explain the trials and pain I’ve had, discovering how to incorporate social media into my writing life—3 years of what I have to call Tribulation—“…from Latin tribulare ‘press, oppress’, from tribulum ‘threshing board (constructed of sharp points)’, based on terere ‘rub’.

For the past few months, I’ve found Google Plus worth my while—sometimes frustrating but usually accountably valuable.

One particular value is finding links to other blog posts and articles that I can feature here.

A number of people linked to a TED curation called Carlton Cuse: 6 talks that help me create.

Mr. Cuse is a screenwriter and producer, probably best known for his U.S. TV series Lost.

As a writer, I not only combine pleasure and work when watching movies (and, “good” TV), I quite often remember Francis Ford Coppola saying, “As I grow older, I realise that I always wanted to be a writer.”

It’s even been said he prefers, when considering movies to make, to read a short story rather than a screenplay

So, whether you’re a writer or not, the following six videos can all, in creatively different ways, fire your creativity.

I’ve had the first one here before but it’s so damned good it deserves another viewing :-)


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A Very Unique Take On Writer’s Block


I have an online friend from Lithuania.

Tomas Karkalas. Tomas

He’s an excellent photographic artist.

English is not his first language and some may find his writing hard to understand but I find it particularly Poetic—his use of English is not “wrong”—it’s Unique

I encourage your visiting his blogs:

Modus Vivendi

Art of Butterfly in Plaster

Art by Tomasportrait of my street by Tomas Karkalas from Klaipeda, Lithuania

But I want to reproduce, with his permission, the article, How to overcome the writer’s block:

“How to overcome the writer’s block puzzles many. So I dared to share my experience with you. When the world’s events look unpredictable and force us to dive into the guessing for the future I did not give in but look for my dictionary. I start writing in a foreign language.

“The difference between the phrases ‘I did not’ and ‘I do not’, for example, becomes just the healing experience then. Becomes something I am able to discover and claim for sure. The lack of self-confidence vanish from sight, the credibility gab disappears from view. My Lithuanian-English dictionary thus puts me into the gratitude. I know nothing more fruitful than the hearty Thank you.”

I would love to hear some of your interpretations of his unique view :-)

Don’t be shy—you can’t be “wrong”—do, please, share in the Commentsespecially if Tomas’ words give you a unique insight into breaking out of the cramp of writer’s block.
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