Writer’s block is the time-worn, well-known bane of writing fiction. Because I most often begin with a full story in my head, I don’t often have writer’s block (although there are moments when I struggle to “move” a character within a scene or between scenes). Where my greatest challenge occurs is within the “tunnel,” something I haven’t often heard writers talk about. (Maybe I’m inventing the idea right now.)
What is the “tunnel”? For me, it’s when I isolate and focus on a scene, a dialogue exchange, a paragraph, a sentence, or sometimes worst of all, a single word, and I worry over that bit of writing until everything else fades away: It’s just me and it, and the entire rest of the chapter/book/story is on hold until I can find my way out.
The “tunnel” usually comes in the guise of trying to find the perfect wording, the perfect description, the perfect collaboration between images, words, and even the sounds they make as they roll off the tongue. Quite impossible really. I can stay inside a tunnel for hours or even days; frankly, it’s frustrating even when I’m pleased with the ultimate result (which is never a predictably certain thing). I want so desperately to tell a good story, not just to tell a story.
At least most tunnels come with light even if the light seems faraway and unpromising. I hope, at the end of all this, what I write genuinely delivers; that it fulfills its promise to the reader. I’ll have gone through a lot of tunnels to get there.