where the writers are
Beating writer's block & getting to the end of a story

Rose asks: "I was wondering if you could give a budding author some advice. Since the age of five, I've been writing stories. However, I haven't been able to finish any; writer's block gets me every time. Any advice on how to over come writer's block?"

First of all, a question for you. Do you plot out your stories and have an ending in mind before you begin writing? I know a lot of writers like to strike out and see where the characters take them. I think of writing a book as a roadtrip -- but being a control freak, I like to know where I'm going, and where we're going to be staying each night along the way. I plot the same way. I know where I'm starting and where I'm going, and a few major plot points along the way. But at the same time, I'm not opposed to taking a cool, new detour if a character suddenly gets a case of independence. In fact, new ideas always pop up in the middle of a book for me.

Knowing how your story ends gives you the freedom to play around with the middle. I call it the "murky middle" because I always get bogged down at the halfway point. But by knowing how the book ends, I can write my way out of the swamp.

That being said, coming up with a concrete ending isn't easy. It takes a lot of brainstorming and trying out things. Take one of your stories that you feel really strongly about and give it a shot. Where do you feel that it's leading you, your characters?

Let me know if that helps you. If not, I'll take another stab at it. ; )