Sunday, September 28, 2008

Writer's Block: The Branch Method

This week at the Diner, we're going to share a few short and hopefully helpful ideas on various ways to defeat writer's block. This will be followed by at least one week of free fiction where staffers demonstrate a specific method of defeating writer's block by showing you the results of their brain draino! Make sure you come back every day to see the fiction--and what pie we've got on special.

So here's my quickie for helping out with writer's block. Turn the section where you're stuck into "branching fiction". You know, like a choose your own adventure? Think to yourself: what three vastly different directions could this scene go right here? Have the directions be relatively logical in terms of your plot, but ignore anything you might have planned for your book except what has come before. And then write them all, keeping in mind these experiments are ONLY to break through your writer's block and aren't your REAL fiction.

It's quite possible one of the crazy new directions will help you over your writer's hump. I have used this method several times with decent success.

And I can't pass up the opportunity to plug my upcoming interactive fiction novella that I sold as Ellie Marvel to Red Sage Publishing, Megan's Choice, in which every scene ends in two directions. Yes, instead of picking one, I just wrote them all, and it was so much fun!

Here's a link to the Megan's Choice page at my site:

And yes, I used this branch method to help me through writer's block a long time before I sold this book to Red Sage, though it did give me the idea to write the book.

Jody W.
SURVIVAL OF THE FAIREST--Available now, Samhain Publishing


  1. "Megan's Choice" sounds like a must read. Last year for NaNoWriMo, I used the branch method a lot. When I came to a spot where there might be different possibilities, I wrote them all down. When I finished one of my main characters entered the story in about 5-10 different scenes. It was fun, but I had cut those other scenes after I made the final choice. I never thought of keeping some and letting the reader decide. Cool.

  2. I don't know if Megan is a must-read for everyone, but I hope it finds a good sized audience :).

  3. Sorry what I mean to say is "Megan's Choice," is a must read for me.

  4. Congrats on the release! And what a cool idea :)


  5. Branching is a really cool idea. I'll have to try that the next time I get stumped. I've always just waited for my characters to whisper (or shout) their intent...eventually.