Whenever I get really stuck in my writing, the sort of stuck that can’t be fixed with a liberal application of chocolate, I turn to my writing craft books. I have several, from broad sweeping tomes like “Story” by Robert McKee, to shorter, more focused books like “Conflict and Suspense” by James Scott Bell. (I love his writing style. I also have his “Plot & Structure” and “Revision & Self-Editing.”) I find that reading the advice of these authors somehow un-sticks that bent synapse in my brain and I can get back to my WIP, often with fresh ideas and more energy.
If I need more in the planning/plotting department for a new story, I’ll dig out “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook” by Donald Maass. Heavens above, this is a marvelous book. Worksheets to fill out, questions to answer, excellent examples, all combine to get the brain juices flowing.
I’ve come across another writing craft book that has joined my list of necessary references. “Writing Active Setting, Book 1: Characterization and Sensory Detail” by Mary Buckham. I’d taken a few online classes by this author, and was excited to hear she’d put some of her vast knowledge into book form. The section on using sensory detail to enhance the setting was full of fabulous ideas, which I will be putting to use as I revise my current WIP.
Now I’m waiting for the release of the second in the series, “Book 2: Setting to Show Emotion, Add Conflict, and Show Back Story”. *drums fingers*