Writer’s Block

I’ve read many articles about writer’s block, its causes, and what to do about it.

An Odyssey of Illusions was my third attempt at writing a book. I’d previously drafted a historical fiction, and a social critique of events in a fictional small town.

I just quit when I was about a year short of the timeline in my draft of ‘Odyssey,’ I had an ending time for the story, but it wouldn’t end the story. I put the manuscript in the bottom drawer, so to say, and stopped thinking about it.

A relative sent me a box of family documents and letters which put another project in my mind, so I turned my attention to it. It took me a full summer to sort and compile the material into a work I called Family Bible – a chronological history of my paternal grandparents and their offspring. I’ve often thought about filling in more details from verifiable internet sources, but…

I finished ‘Odyssey,’ and had it published[1] in 2012. The printed and e-versions had considerable mechanical errors, so in retrospect, publication was probably ill timed. The only boasting however is that the book earned a 2013 Erick Hoffer Finalist award (http://www.hofferaward.com/Eric-Hoffer-Award-category-finalists.html#.WT7_xWjyuCo).

Several readers of An Odyssey of Illusions were confused by its ending and commented that a sequel or alternate finish should be written. I agreed and drafted a book-length follow up. After considerable thought, I decided to combine the two in a same manuscript as book one and book two. The format didn’t work too well for me. I dropped it into the bottom drawer. I’ve considered a rewrite of ‘Odyssey’ but I don’t want to lose the point of view and voice of the child who went through those years.

I’ve drafted and rewritten 63,000 + words of another story focused on the lives of persons who still feel the impacts of the Vietnam War from the time of the 1968 TET Offensive and after. I made several attempts to find voice and point of view that will get a reader into the story and seriously consider the impact on veterans and those around them. This work, like several others, is on the back burner, in the bottom drawer, …

Now I’m about one-third of the way through a current-time story in first person as a 25-year-old. I wrote the opening, then the ending before I started filling in the blanks between.[2] This seems to be working at this time in the process. However, I wonder if I’ll finish or eventually put it on hold like the others. I guess I’ll know soon enough because the ending time for the story in just after the shadow of the August 21, 2017, eclipse passes over Oregon.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve discovered my most serious writer’s block – finishing what I’ve started.

[1] I didn’t know at the time the publisher was vanity press.

[2] John Grisham said in an interview that he always writes his ending before the rest of a book. Perhaps, that will work for me.

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