Writer’s Block Removed

Writers-Block-Removed-250x265I’ve had a hellish month. I’ve written chunks of the last book, but as some fans have pointed out, the little meter thingy on my website is showing precious little progress. It isn’t that I didn’t have the time, or that life tossed me some troubles (well a few but not enough to stop progress), but progress was still agonizingly slow.

Truth is, I get everything set up; I sit down and start typing, and then I end up doing research, or re-editing prior chapters, or reading sections of the first two books. What is killing me is here I am with two or three solid hours to write the last book, and then suddenly, the time is gone. This is maddening to say the least, and I have been in a downward spiral of guilt over it for five weeks now.

I’ve tried all the tricks:

  • Distraction? Have you seen the great new website and group I built called Fantasy and Science-Fiction Network?
  • Building a new idea? I wrote almost half of a new science-fiction series based on the origins of Duke, before I decided I needed to finish the last book of the Golden Threads Trilogy.
  • Outlining? Well I have analyzed the heck out of my original plan for the last book. I have revised it, cut it around, and in the end, am very happy with its layout (which looks suspiciously like the original).
  • Adding an unexpected event to really twist things up a notch? As if I don’t already have enough of these, sure why not, and that is why… well no spoilers – but we’ll have fun speculating over which unexpected event in the book was added trying to get past this writer’s block.
  • Did the story go seriously off track and need to be corrected? Um, no I love it; the events are all tied together, see outlining above.
  • Step up the characters because I’m getting bored with them? Not on your life, have you SEEN Ticca in a fight? I mean, WOW. Lebuin? He makes me cry and laugh. Nigan? I’m just smiling saying his name. Illa? Love her to death. Duke? Never, ever going to get tired of that old wolf. And so on…
  • Depressed/polarized by negative feedback? Okay, yes this had me for a while. But, I recognized it for what it was. One reviewer really got under my skin, and I was an emotional train wreck for a while after reading the review.

Still, I wasted another three hours only last night.

The answer just hit me like a truck this morning on the way to work. I was listening to a podcast of Radiolab by NPR, and it struck a chord in me. The moment was so amazing I actually stood up on the bus and jumped up and down. The episode I was listening to was “Help!” http://www.radiolab.org/story/117165-help/ which has a fabulous description, “What do you do when your own worst enemy is…you?”

Why have I had this major writer’s block? I’ll give you a hint. I have said it a few times in this article already. The problem was staring me right in my face. Ticca, Lebuin, and all my imaginary friends didn’t want to come out and play for this book because I was calling it “the last book.” You see, I don’t want this to end. I had so much fun writing down what all these fabulous people did and sharing it with you that I didn’t want it to end. Yet, I promised on a stack of books by Isaac Asimov, JRR Tolkien, Roger Zelzany, and many of my other favorite authors I would not drag this story on into some ungodly long series. I promised there would be three books, and that was it. And let’s face it nobody likes to stop doing something that is fun. No wonder none of my wonderful fictional friends wanted to come out and play, and I couldn’t bring myself to write those last ten chapters.

How do I fix this? Well, I hereby promise to all my friends and fans that this is NOT the LAST BOOK for Ticca, Lebuin, and all our new friends. This is, of course, kind of a spoiler in that you know the world survives, but, come-on, I’m a hyper optimistic writer, and you all knew that this wasn’t going to be a tragedy.  Now, of course they have to stop a war, save the world, and maybe finally resolve some of that romantic tension they can’t seem to figure out. But, they’ll be back.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Ticca and Lebuin are demanding to get back to exploring that blasted hole in the ground.


The Golden Threads Trilogy books are:

Thread Slivers Book One Cover Thread Strands Cover

Wow, I’m a bestselling author! You can find all my books on Amazon (http://amazon.com/author/lartra)!

  • Kerry Hall

    Just remember you have friends and support staff to give you a shoulder (or a drink).We are here because we believe in you and your wonderful adventures. Do not let a couple of trolls get to you, you have over 66% of readers giving you 5 stars.That is awsome. I agree keep the adventures going as long as they want to join you.
    I love the new sci fi network review site but im having trouble today accessing it, possibly pilot error.

    Keep dancing.

    • Thank you Kerry. Yes I know, to be honest I’m surprised I had this problem considering how fast I was able to complete book two.

  • Robin Lythgoe

    Writer’s block (or whatever you want to call it) is a horrible thing to suffer, and I can sympathize. I’m glad to hear you found a way through it, and that the adventures will continue. And maybe I’ll have to have a listen to that Radiolab segment…

    • Robin, thank you very much. That means a lot coming from such a noted fantasy author! If you ever need someone to chat about stories with to overcome a blocked moment just let me know. Really love Radiolab a lot. I hated that I always missed the episodes or had to stop and get out of the car in the middle. Because of my being interviewed for that podcast I had to learn about podcasts and got myself a nice podcast application for my phone. Then I found that many of my favorite radio shows post their episodes as podcasts. I have really had fun listening to all the Radiolab episodes. I’m totally addicted now.

  • Joe W

    ” I hereby promise to all my friends and fans that this is NOT the LAST BOOK for Ticca, Lebuin, and all our new friends. ”

    Yes!!!! *jumps out of chair and dances around*

    Sometimes I get readers block when it comes to the last book in the series and can’t push myself to read it for the exact reason. It’s like the story is still open ended until I read that last book which is final.

    I’m glad you are planning on returning and using the same characters again after this trilogy. It’s my opinion obviously, but one of the worst things I’ve seen some authors do is return to the same world but with completely different characters. What makes a series special to me is never the world but the characters themselves. I could care less if there was a book that started out with medieval fantasy that turned into urban fantasy that turned into futuristic sci-fi fantasy along the series as long as I see the same main characters.

    • Hello Joe! You made me laugh pretty hard when you said you get reader’s block on the last book of a series. That is a really interesting phenomenon, I wonder how many others get it too. Might be worth an article. :^)

      Also, I’m pleased you are enjoying the series and the characters. Until you wrote that sequence (“started out with medieval fantasy that turned into urban fantasy that turned into futuristic sci-fi fantasy along the series”) I didn’t realize that is the general feel of the second book. True enough. And in the third it sliding back down that curve, which now that I’m aware of it I think I will make sure it conforms to a nice bell curve, cause I love that idea. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Phil H

    Go Leeland Go! I finished the second book a while back and forgot to tell you. I couldn’t stop reading. I came to the end so suddenly I was shocked and appalled – no, how could book 2 be over already?! I didn’t realize the appendix took up so much space!

    That’s when I realized I was loving the books. So fun to read. And I thought, how is he going to end this in one more book? You know, despite what I told you before, I wouldn’t be sad if it took another book or two, as long as the plot doesn’t go off the rails. But I’d be just as happy with another series in this world, for any of the characters who survive.

    Good luck, Leeland!

    • Phil H

      PS, I really wish I would have been on the bus when that happened.
      PPS, Did I mention I’ve started my own book now? I really want to sit down and pick your brain about what happens next, and maybe give you a few chapters to read to get some feedback. But I’ll let you finish your own book first… 🙂

      • Actually Phil I’m glad you weren’t, cause if you were there might have been video of it put up by now… :^)

    • Thanks Phil! I’m really happy to finally be making progress. Personally I loved the ending of book two. After I wrote it I did a little happy dance. Even now I get thrills thinking about it. I know some folks don’t like it because it feels like the next thing should have been a huge fight…even in the third book the huge fight comes a bit later…

      I’ll let you know when the third book is ready…even better you can join my mailing list and keep up on the latest.

      + Leeland

  • J.W. Doane

    Leeland I always hate when a GREAT series ends and I still have so many questions! I have fallen in love with these characters and can’t wait for the next book. I have learned as an avid reader is that you can not please everyone and some people’s life goal is to piss in everyone elses cheerios. I just simply live by the mantra SCREW THEM! You keep doing what you love and I’ll continue to buy whatever you write that is a fact!