I’ve always been a linear writer. I can’t write a scene out of order, partially because if I know what happens that far out, I’m probably bored with the story. The other reason is that anything I write in the “future” of my story will undoubtedly affect what I’ve already written, so I’d probably be writing/revising in circles forever. My brain just doesn’t work that way – I’m a pretty linear thinker, overall.
So because I have to keep moving forward, and in part due to the serialization I use to draft my novels, I write myself into corners a lot. A *lot*. I like to leave my serial scenes on a cliffhanger when I can, and most of the time when I leave it for the day, I have no answer to the question I’ve left my readers with, “but what happens next?” It’s a pickle, but one that forces me to be very creative at times since I can’t go backwards with a serial novel and “fix” whatever put me (or my characters, rather) in a corner.
There’s simply nowhere to go but forward.
What I’ve found is that there is *always* a way forward. Some corners are more work than others to write out of, and some require copious amounts of caffeine and sugar, but there’s always a way out. The secret (for me anyways) is to examine the situation and character(s) from every single angle, and then figure out what the cheesiest way to get out of it would be. Naturally I don’t normally *use* that method, but brainstorming silly and off-the-wall ways to break out opens up my mind to any possibilities…and it generally doesn’t take too long before I see a more logical, workable way to move my characters along.
So here’s a corner for you to play with (readers, chime in too!) – feel free to leave a comment with your off-the-wall ways to get our poor heroine out of her predicament (alive, preferably):
The men were closing in, and Janice felt like her heart would explode as she strained to run faster through the dark dungeon. She imagined a woman from the century when this castle was built running from her captors just as Jan was, trying to escape a fate ‘worse than death’. Though Jan was pretty sure she didn’t have that particular option. The other woman would probably have panicked at the sight of a solid wall coming up fast, might have turned into the open door on the right. She, too, might have ended up in a stone cell with barred windows and no way out save the way she’d come in.
Footsteps grew louder, and Janice looked around the small room, completely bare aside from old, musty straw covering the floor and a few large metal rings still affixed high on the wall. Moving back to the doorway, she looked out, nothing but solid stone across the way, and four men jogging fast down the only corridor.
Have fun playing…
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