I am a normal, lazy person. I don't really believe in the concept of laziness you understand. I believe it is always at the heart of it - fear or didn't want to do it anyway. Be that as it may, I have some tricks for getting myself over the muddy wallows of writing a novel - or anything else too. Sometime in my murky past I wrote publicity pieces for a company I owned. I also wrote for a weekly newspaper. I would get tired of churning out the publicity pieces - using the same trite and tired phrases that soon became leached of all meaning - 'rising star', 'world debut', master technician, great depth of feeling, blah blah blah. In that world, to get over my laziness - I would write something totally bad. Remember that these were the days before email so I almost never got caught writing that the upcoming pianist was a social disaster who didn't know how to put his pants on right let alone inspire confidence in his ability to tackle Mozart. So that was a trick to get me going.
Nowadays I need a different sort of trick. Though getting mad at stubborn characters is still something I might use from time to time. Here are some more:
- Title a chapter. Just call it whatever name pops into my head - to give you an idea, for The Rock Walker, I had titles such as 'Sinatra', 'Home', 'Jellied Salads', 'Remorse', etc... giving myself one word was sometimes all it took to move the plot forward even if I eventually chucked the title.
- Imagining myself entering the space of the novel and asking questions like "what's going on here?" "how come you look so sad?" and listening for the answers.
- Imagining the location and see what stands out - what is in the landscape that needs the attention of the protagonist?
- Inventing a new and absolutely fun character - that has carried me through lots of muddy wallows. Especially to find characters that aren't what they appear to be - old ladies who are wildly adventurous, young men who are persnickety detail freaks, 9 year old girls who are mad for war games, etc...
- Pretending I am my character's therapist and asking them what they want to change.
- When really crazed - I invent wonderful rooms - quirky ones that tell a lot about the character. My main character has an obsession with decorating so she always notices the spaces of the people she interviews (she's a cop).
How about the rest of you? Any weird and wonderful ways you get going when the wallow beckons?