Writers Block

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Joined:Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:25 pm
Writers Block

Post by Goodmush » Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:08 am

So there I was knee deep in character sheets, dice, maps & minis. Enjoying every minute of it when all of a sudden... it stopped, all of it. No ideas, and a new dark hole in my mind where all of my now fleeting adventuring ideas got pulled to, never to excape.

That was two months ago, now as i try to come out of a self empossed break and get back to writing adventures the black hole in my head seems to take everything I can think of, including my self confidence as a master of games. It maybe due to a long drought of not playing in games recently or running them for that matter. So I thought I would pose the question to the collective for debate and possibly a cure for the worst case of writers block I've had in some the time.

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Re: Writers Block

Post by Scriven » Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:48 pm

Ironic as it may be for me to offer advice on this topic, I'm going to throw my hat in because I think this is a worthwhile line of discussion and would be eager to see others more worthy than I weigh in on it.

If you're having problems writing for CoC, a technique that's been bearing (modest) fruit for me personally is to go back to the period newspapers, pick out a story or two and ask "yeah, but what really happened?" or "What got left out of the article because the reporter couldn't make sense of it?" One of the most compelling aspects of CoC for me is the idea that the fantastic and horrific can hide beneath the surface of some of the most mundane and prosaic aspects of daily life. A burglary, house fire or rail worker's strike can hold hidden dimensions that can lead in unexpected and highly rewarding directions once you have a base to extrapolate upon. I'll also go so far as to suggest that "grounding" a story or plotline this way adds an element of authenticity to scenarios that sometimes gets lost when writers want to dive headfirst into the uncanny or fantastic.

You can always check out the Library of Congress website's "Chronicling America" project for source material. Good source for in-game newsprint props, too.

Okay, there's my 2 cents.
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Re: Writers Block

Post by Keeper Jon » Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:21 pm

For me, when I hit that wall, I give my brain a rest as I watch some TV or movies. But, while watching, I start playing the "What if..." game in my head. I'll see a scene or setting on the screen, and I wonder what if that place was in Lovecraft country. Or, I'll see a plot event unfold, and I wonder what if that was in a scenario how would it be different? What kind of cult would use those tactics? What kind of beastie would be tangled up in this situation?

Suddenly, before you know it, you've got a whole list of cool "What if..." situations that you can string together and form a new scenario, or enhance one that you're working on. And if you are concerned that you might be writing a scenario that mimics the TV show or movie you were watching, then ask yourself even more "what if" questions. With every question you ask and find an answer for, the further and further your end result will be from the original source material.

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Re: Writers Block

Post by WinstonP » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:17 pm

Specifically for Lovecraft, when I start to feel burned out on his fiction, I start reading other writers - MR James and Clark Ashton Smith both have associated podcasts if you don't have time to read.

I think the most important thing I must remind myself of is that, without input, your brain will eventually run out of output. Read, watch films, go places, talk to people - find new things to enjoy or go back to favorite things so you have things to spark inspiration.

Always find a way to write something, even if it is just a blog post or an email reply. You must exercise those parts of the mind, even when they ache.

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Re: Writers Block

Post by fox01313 » Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:42 pm

Apart from just rest & dive into other things mentioned by others like TV or whatnot to get the imagination/writer mood refreshed. One thing that's worked for me on getting over the block is to take one of your favorite sections of a book or short story & just transcribe it. That or try writing up some short things from an outline or try a high improvised story game (like Gloom or Snake Oil) to get the imagination going again. It won't cure it completely but gets you back into the mood to writing quicker than just feeling like writers block is a small german tank that just ran over your imagination a few times. Just have to try out a few things to see what works for you, good luck!!
"That's funny, usually the blood gets off on the second floor." -Mr. Burns in The Shinning episode (Treehouse of horror V)

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Re: Writers Block

Post by KeeperAntUK » Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:55 pm

Loads of good advice here, I suspect just trying everything in this thread one after the other will shake something loose !

For moving forwards, I keep a few different 'everyday book' type lists on the go. I have one on my laptop, one on my tablet, one on my phone etc etc ...

I could sync them all together, but I don't want them to coalesce too readily. That way I just keep jotting down diverse notes and memos.

Dipping into them helps revitalise my creative juices in the long run.

One word of warning; you can end up with some pretty cryptic notes! One of mine just says 'Cheeses?!?! When ????' I have zero idea what prompted it :shock:


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Re: Writers Block

Post by Dr. Gerard » Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:14 pm

I find the best answer to the question "Cheeses? When?" is "Now."

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