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You know that feeling—like you were coasting along on a greased golden road through your first draft (or second…or twelfth), and suddenly you come to a bone-jarring halt, like Wile. E. Coyote sent an avalanche right smack into your creative pathway.

Ka-pow, as the coyote would say: “writer’s block.” I use quotes because I think getting stuck isn’t the big scary monster it’s often painted as—not a condition like a disease that must be cured, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem, the way a stuffy nose isn’t your core problem when you have a cold.

Reasons writers get stuck—whether in drafting or revising—contain multitudes…but I’ve found that often when characters are resisting and refusing to perform, it’s because the author (or sometimes the editor) is forcing them to go where they don’t want to go—pushing the story into a corner it doesn’t want to be in. And, like the tantruming toddler who goes completely dead-limb when a parent tries to force him where he doesn’t want to go, your story can throw a resistance fit and go limp.


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