Blank Page Syndrome

Monday musings on writing

By Lucy Appadoo

As an author, I have had intermittent moments of the Blank Page Syndrome, struggling to find words for a story scene or chapter. However, I have used strategies to combat this syndrome, also known as Writer’s Block, which has resulted in my multiple self-published books in the romantic suspense, thriller, and romance genres.

One way I combat the Blank Page , or Blank Screen Syndrome is to move away from the screen for a mental break to undertake others tasks, whether it’s creating social media posts, checking emails, drafting subscriber newsletters, physical exercise, reading other stories for ideas, working on marketing strategies, and so on. Later I’ll resume writing the story with a fresher perspective and gain new ideas.

I have also found that rereading the previous chapter of my story will help to immerse me into the plot and characters as I imagine I am playing out these scenes on a stage.

I visualise myself as being these characters and take myself to that place in my mind, knowing my characters well enough to know what they’ll do next. If I am that particular character, then I’ll know how I behave or what I do next in the story. If this still doesn’t work, I will free associate and begin writing either the last sentence of my story, or will write about how I am feeling about the fact that I have no ideas. I will free associate about the characters until the writing itself frees my subconscious and something in my mind clicks. Using the pen to write can unlock hidden gems in my mind, or I can type it out too.

Another strategy is the use of tarot cards. I have started reading Story Arcana – Using Tarot for Writing by Caroline Donahue, which discusses how to use tarot cards for story ideas. You simply draw a card from the deck and form impressions of a particular image, take notes, then read further for information about how to interpret the image. I have started using this for a story outline of book four in my Women Of Strength Series, set in Spain. It has worked well to provide me with a deeper understanding of my characters.

I also find reading news articles about crime, death and police methods help me to form a coherent story so it can be based on a real and authentic criminal or serial killer for a thriller or suspense story. For example, I read stories on the internet about real-life serial killers and their motivations, as well as reading a book called Journey Into Darkness by John Douglas, in which he discusses serial killer cases and how they are solved. For example, my latest novel, Fatal Designs, was inspired by a real-life serial killer, Paul Bernardo who killed young women in Ontario until he was caught by the police.

In general, the Blank Page Syndrome or writers’ block is about unlocking the hidden gems in your subconscious to develop an authentic plot with true-to life characters. You could fill multiple pages of strategies to combat writers’ block, but the few tactics I’ve mentioned above have worked for me by managing to self-publish multiple books.

Lucy Appadoo

author Lucy Appadoo

is a prolific reader and author of the Friends In Crisis Series. After a childhood spent reading and imagining escapist worlds, Lucy has put her imagination into stories. Her work as a rehabilitation counsellor, and former work as a counsellor in private practice, have led to an interest in writing inspirational stories about authentic, driven women who manage adversity with strength and heart. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense/thrillers with significant life themes and contemporary romance.

Lucy’s interests include researching crime stories and news to inspire her work, watching crime thrillers and suspenseful movies, travel, exercising, reading for entertainment or knowledge, meditation, and spending time with friends and family. She also appreciates her Italian background and culture, which has inspired her to write imaginative stories about her parents’ childhoods, leading to The Italian Family Series novels.

Check out Lucy’s website and sign up for a FREE suspenseful novel on her website.

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