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Beating that Scary Blank Page--A Writer's Nightmare

If you’re a writer, at some point you’ve probably encountered it. The scary blank page. What makes it scary is that you have absolutely no idea how to fill it…and all the other blank pages that come after. Bits and pieces of ideas are swirling around in your head, and you’ve got disjointed notes scattered across different files on your computer. Your desk is full of barely legible scraps of paper you scribbled on in haste (gotta get that flash of an idea on paper before it dissipates), and notebooks you dragged with you on trips, or maybe to the park. Somehow it all has to come together into a cohesive story. But where to begin?

I’ve been staring at that blank page for a few months now. Mostly because my overly-busy life hasn’t afforded me the time to center myself and organize my thoughts. I thought maybe if I just tried not to stress out about it, the ideas would start coming together on their own. You know, like when you forget someone’s name and the only way to remember it is to think of something else for a while?

But you probably don’t have to be a writer to realize that plan was destined to fail. After all, I’m not trying to remember something forgotten, I’m trying to create something totally new. Its threads must tie neatly into everything that came before, as well as everything that is yet to come after. The further I get into my series, the more complex that job becomes. Sometimes it gets pretty intimidating and I wonder if I’m up to the challenge I’ve set before myself.

So the blank page continues to stare at me, and the longer it looms, the scarier it seems. And that has been bothering me. A lot! So now I’m pushing myself to get past the anxiety and really focus on the task at hand. I’ve done it before, and I know I can do it again. But first I must stop thinking like a writer, and get into the minds of my readers. What are they expecting to happen next? Which of those expectations must be fulfilled, and which do I hold back until further on in the series? What surprising twists and turns will make the story fresh and exciting, rather than predictable? What will move and intrigue my readers to keep coming back for the next book, and the next after that?

It is in answering those questions that I can more easily get back to the job of being a writer; balancing expectation with inspiration, and weaving together what seems to be nothing but a random tangle of loose threads into a vibrant, tightly woven fabric. I’m already starting to see the patterns and colors as they come together in the back of my mind. Scenes are taking shape, characters are whispering their thoughts to me as I sleep, and the mood of the book is building in my chest.

That blank page doesn’t have any words on it yet, but all the signs are telling me the time is just about right to begin. Once again, I’ll do my best to fill it, and hundreds more, with words that will take my readers on new adventures, full of heart, wonder, and suspense. In the end, if I do my job well, my readers will inspire me to face another new set of blank pages. But that’s for another year—one challenge at a time.

Fun Facts
Learn interesting facts about life in the medieval era.
Got milk? In the Middle Ages milk came from cows, goats, and sheep, with most peasants owning one or more of these animals. Even so, fresh drinking milk was surprisingly uncommon. 

There was no easy way to keep milk from spoiling, and it was only available during the times of year when animals were producing. For the most part milk was used to make other foods like butter and cheese.

Milk to drink was primarily given to the sick, young children, the elderly, and those who were too poor to buy meat. Instead, peasants drank whey, buttermilk, milk that had been soured or diluted with water, and almond milk.
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Affect or Effect?

Affect is usually used as a verb and means to influence.

Effect is usually used as a noun and means to change or impact.   

For example:

Heavy rain affected the attendance at our cookout.

A cup of hot tea always has a positive effect on my mood.

And now for a fun visual aid:
Get inspired by Fantasy Art Wednesday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing!

I could get lost in a place like this, surrounded by breathtaking beauty, bathed in a soft, filtered sunlight that illuminates the mist around me.

Perhaps it’s just me, but does anyone else smell fairy magic on the breeze? I sense that I’m being gently lured into another realm. “Come further in,” the leaves whisper. “Follow me,” fingers of mist curl and beckon.

Am I being led to the heart of the fairy kingdom, or is it all just an illusion? Once I am there, will I ever be able to leave again? Will I ever want to? You decide…

“This Way” by Ninjatic

Learn More About the Weekly Fantasy Fix Authors!
Joshua Robertson is a dark fantasy author who enjoys challenging the concept of good and evil.

His bestselling novel, Melkorka, is one of three books currently available in the Thrice Nine Legends saga. 

Click to learn more about Joshua...
Allison D. Reid is a Christian Fantasy author with a fondness for Medieval history.  Her first published series, the Wind Rider Chronicles, embraces traditional fantasy elements but is also infused with deeper spiritual themes. The first book, Journey to Aviad, is now free in ebook format everywhere.

Listen to a live interview with Allison!
Renee Scattergood writes Dark fantasy and is currently publishing a serial called, Shadow Stalker. She is also working on the first novel in her series, A God's Deception. The first novel in the series is due out late 2016 or early 2017.

Read more about Renee.
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