Writer's Block

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 8:29 AM | 9 comments »

Good morning everyone,
What do you do when your life is on hold? That's my question today. As many of you know I have been rewriting my first novel in the "returning war hero" series, for the past four months. I have interest from a publishing house, who may or may not by the 3 book series, and so I'm jumping through hoops to make the editor happy, jumping up and down, shouting YES, that's it! You've done all that I've asked and now you will be rewarded. My first attempt was met with limited success - I did a great job in bringing the romance forward, yada, yada, but it still doesn't have the magic spark and the hero and heroine still get along too well right from the getgo. So, I did it again, and then just before sending it in, I had another idea, and rewrote it for the third time.
Now, I'm sitting and waiting, and wondering if all my dreams will come true or be brutally crushed.
While I'm waiting I have gone back to writing, and I'm working on another Candy Book story, the third in the successful series. I had written 200 pages before I was dangled with the carrot, but I'm feeling flat and it's hard to really get enthused, you know what I mean?
What do you all do when it's hard to write, to be creative, because all that positive energy is on hold?

Anyway - I thought I might give you the first couple of pages of the book I'm working on, a romantic comedy, another follow up to Replacing Barnie. Honest comments will be appreciated. I can't decide if it's stupid or cute! lol.


If I had to describe myself in one word, I’d say survivor. I could also add resilient, stubborn, tenacious, feisty, and a whole slew of other words, but you get my point. If a tornado came my way, I’d probably swallow it whole and spit the damn thing out. That’s me-Fran Sherman, like a tank and just as indestructible.

So why am I acting more like the cowardly lion, afraid to go onstage and sing in front of a small crowd? It’s not like I’m performing at the Grammies or the Super Bowl, competing for attention with a zillion clever ads. I’m at my favorite hang-out, the Candy Bar in South Beach, Florida, which is owned by my very good friend. It’s not my first time singing here, I’ve filled in a few times and even broke a guitar over some lead singer’s head. He deserved it too—the guy was being a real A-hole, and Candy had ordered him to pack up and leave. When he didn’t comply, I settled the matter quickly—ended up singing to a cheering crowd too.

“Hey, Fran.” Brett put a hand on my elbow and steered me forward. “Go on up there. Candy’s been trying to get your attention.”

Brett Hamilton is a hunky fire fighter engaged to my dear friend Susie. He’s here for his stag party, which means that Susie couldn’t come tonight. As much as I adore Brett, I’d rather have Susie’s support instead.

Of course, I’d never let him know that, so I gave his arm a squeeze and whispered, “I know she has but I’m taking a moment. I need to calm down.” Nervously, I ran my damp palms down the side of hips and took a couple of deep breaths.

“That’s not like you,” Brett said. “You’re fearless.” His warm brown eyes settled on mine. “Fearless Fran.”

I smiled, liking that new name for myself. “Thanks, Brett.”

One of Brett’s friends joined us, handing Brett a very large beer. He introduced himself as John Hanley, the fire chief, and offered to buy me a drink.

“I wish I could, but I’m singing in a minute.” I glanced at Candy standing on the stage, dressed in a leather vest and skinny jeans, wearing her trademark cowboy boots and straw hat. She beckoned me forward. “I’ve got to go.”

“You’re looking awfully flushed, and your cheeks are purple. Maybe you should sit down a second,” John said to me.

I put my hand up to my cheeks and they were flaming hot. Perhaps I was coming down with something. I might have the pox or something else as highly contagious. It might be better for everyone if I just hightailed it out of there.

I knew I couldn’t. Candy’s one of the biggest hearted, best friends a gal could ever hope for, and I couldn’t run out on her, even if I wanted.

“We have a wonderful new talent tonight,” Candy shouted. “Welcome Frannie May, who is making her debut here before going on to win American Idol.” Candy grinned and waved me forward. “She’s being a little shy tonight. Let’s give her a warm welcome, please.”

I tossed my head back and marched up to the stage. So what if they don’t like me and I get booed off stage. I’ve survived far worse in my life. A helicopter crash, the loss of my baby, cancer. This is nothing in the big picture of life. Right?

Wrong. I need this gig. I need the money. And that really sucks the big one. I don’t like needing people or things, or favors of any kind. I prefer to think I’m an independent, invincible, self-reliant force of nature. But tonight, I feel vulnerable, as though something out of my control just might get the better of me.

A few people clapped, but most continued drinking and chatting amongst themselves, never glancing towards the stage or me. The fact that no one cared was hugely reassuring.

I’d lived half of my life invisible, simply floating in the background, aware of everything going on around me, not asserting myself or becoming emotionally invested. I could easily do that tonight--just sing a few songs and go back to drinking with my pals.

I don’t have a lot of friends but the ones I do have are extremely special, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Susie’s an artist and does amazing murals for children’s hospitals. She was a screwball before she found her way, dancing from one disastrous career choice to another. I mean, she was a party entertainer and showed up as a bumblebee for some kid’s birthday, for heaven’s sake. Then she went to Italy to study art and found some missing piece of herself, among other things.

Candy, well, Candy is like the coolest person on the planet. She is a single mom, looks like a centerfold, and owns this bar, the hottest most happening place in South Beach.

Lydia is one of the smartest divorce attorney’s in the state. She’s from a big Catholic family, an only daughter, and still single at forty. Because of her profession, she only saw broken marriages, not the good ones, and thought marriage was only for suckers and romantics, which luckily kept her in business. Then she got knocked up one night at the Candy Bar, and her career took a rocky path, soon changing her opinion.

Stepping up to Candy, I took the mic from her outstretched hands. “Hey, everybody. I’m so glad to be here tonight, and I know you are too. Isn’t this the best bar in South Beach?”

Everyone cheered, and I winked at Candy. “Well, kick back and enjoy yourselves while I entertain you with a few songs.”


  1. Traci // August 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM  

    I love your writing, Patrice - good luck, good luck. When I am stuck writing, I plot, or do character sheets or something to get my story moving again. Usually I'm stuck because I am going in the wrong direction, and my subconcious knows it!!!

  2. Autumn Jordon // August 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM  

    I agree with Traci. Usually when I'm stuck, something is not right. Try interviewing your characters and really get into their heads.

    Good luck with the submissions.

  3. Beth Trissel // August 20, 2012 at 1:06 PM  

    Super excerpt Patrice. May the muse be with you. I'm not stuck, I'm just obsessing over historical accuracy at the moment in my WIP which is just about as bad.

  4. Mona Risk // August 20, 2012 at 1:22 PM  

    Patrice, I love your humorous books. Barney was one of a kind. I rarely have writer's block because by the time I start writing a story I've written it in my head for a few months, and I start by plotting my outline, and then it flows. Later, it's the first chapter that I re-write a hundred times!

  5. Patrice // August 20, 2012 at 3:34 PM  

    Thanks everyone - I wish I could plot but I'm a pantser and I don't get stuck very often. I know where I'm going with this and feel as though I'm in tune with the characters, but I just don't have the passion, the creative drive, the thrill of discovery that I normally do. Oh well, I will continue to push forward. I can always fix the written word, but the empty page will never improve. That's my brilliant thought for today! LOL

  6. Barbara Monajem // August 20, 2012 at 10:46 PM  

    When I'm stuck, it usually means I've taken a wrong turn. If I have the time, I just work on something else instead--I usually have more than one thing going. If I'm in a rush, I think and think and think and fall asleep thinking, and hopefully wake up knowing how to fix things. Perseverance makes perfect!

  7. Mary Marvella // August 21, 2012 at 6:27 PM  

    Patrice, sorry I'm late. I give you permission to write crap! Seriously.

    What would your character write in her journal about the last few scenes. Back up to a scene where she was passionate. Get in her head as she writes. It might restore the flow.

  8. Mary Ricksen // August 21, 2012 at 7:51 PM  

    If your work is "crap" then crap just became fantastic, funny and uplifting. Cause with my secret in, I know what you are writing and I think that my crap should be half as good as yours is!!! Seriously, I think one story is hysterical and still touching!

  9. Josie // August 24, 2012 at 8:27 PM  

    Patrice, I'm chiming in to say I love your writing, also. You have such a wonderful voice. And your newest WIP that you shared is perfect. :)