Priming the Pump

Starting a new story feels like priming a pump that just doesn’t want to flow. I pour in a little ‘water’ in the form of characters and some vague idea of the inciting incident or opening disturbance and then pump and pump, but the words drip out one by one and I’m left waiting for a gush of prose.  This time I’m using a setting I’ve never visited, and that makes it tougher to envision the scene.  A moment ago I had to ask myself what a Christian cemetery in India might look like. Google helps, but what about one in 1835, in a small outpost?  Scratching head.

When asked what I do when I’m stuck I say, play inspiration music, look at inspirational images, and take long walks to discuss the story with my characters. At the end of the day, though, I have to stay at the keyboard, even if it means setting a timer to keep myself there. Avoiding techniques, including research and posting to my blog don’t work. The only way to prime the pump is to keep writing. I’m heading back to it.

Weeks_Edwin_Festival_At_Fatehpur_Sikri Writing


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Caroline Warfield, Author

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