So this weekend, I'm NaNoing away, it's late at night, same old same old, yada yada yada. Then Sunday morning rolls around and I have a few minutes to spare, so I sit to write a bit.
Before I write, I like to read what I've already written. It helps me to a) figure out where the heck I was in the story, b) fix any minor errors, and c) get back into the voice. So I start reading. And reading. And reading.
And it's awful.
It's bland, the characters have no personality, and worst of all, there's no conflict. None. Zilch. Nada. I've noticed this happens to me when I have story in mind before character. It's harder for me to write the beginnings. I flounder, because for me, beginnings are all about personality. If the character doesn't grab you, the story doesn't have a chance. When I have character first, the middle becomes the problem. (But that's a post for another day.) Anyway...
Then I had a breakthrough. It happened when I was wandering around my house, fending off the latest Pokemon attack by the five-year-old. I had my soundtrack on repeat (and it's only fourteen songs long right now, so let me tell ya, it was repeating), and one song in particular came up. This song.
This was one of those songs I put in the soundtrack because it felt right even though I didn't have any specific story element relating to it. I thought it might apply to my hero, but I was wrong. It's not his song. It belonged to someone else.
It doesn't sound like much of a revelation, but hoo-boy was it. Once I figured out who owned that song, a whole bunch of things that were wrong rearranged themselves and I got two major components my heroine had been lacking: internal conflict and motivation. These are good to have for a first-person POV character.
See, I had the plot -- the external conflict -- but I didn't have the character. I knew what she looked like, but I had no idea what she wanted. This song brought that to me. Well, not alone...this other song helped.*
And that's why I love my soundtracks.
What do you do to get unstuck?
*Sorry there were no proper videos for these. Some days you just gotta take what you get.