I can generally tell when I have a problem with the plot. My brain wants to shut down and I don't want to write. I have been struggling to get 1000 words a day lately and not just because I have so much filling up my life outside of writing. I have a family, and a dayjob, and then there are the afterschool activities for the kiddos, but seriously I can still make time to write.
However lately I have been sitting at the computer and opening the file and just making circles on the inernet, checking email, checking facebook, and getting a whole lot of nothing done on my story. Today I realized there is something about where the story is that is getting me hung up.
The characters usually go through a series of tests to get through the story. They see a call to adventure and they usually don't pick up the sword and go. They usually refuse the call to adventure before finally deciding to go. Sometimes someone gets in their way and tells them no, don't risk your life and ours. Sometimes it is their own fear they must overcome. Sometimes they are just being wishy washy, but they never say yes right away.
My heroine, is just doing anything her big strong men want her to. There is no refusal. She signed on the dotted line and isn't looking back. I have to figure out where and how it went wrong, but she can't move along this easily without trouble. She needs to have more conflict in her decision and a little unhappiness before she can live the dream of happily ever after.
Seriously. Is it ever easy for characters you can commiserate and identify with? Did Luke from Star Wars join up as a Jedi as soon as the offer was on the table? No, he said he had promised not to leave and to stay another year on the farm with his family. It was not until that last thread of connection was cut before he realized he had no choice. He had to leave and find a new direction for his life because there was nothing left for him on his home planet. His family had been killed and his farm was burnt to the ground. If he stayed, eh would certainly die too. It was time for him to take up the sword and fight or die.
So my inner critic has stopped me from writing until I go back and fix it. Now I see what is wrong, so I can spend the time changing things. I don't believe in writer's block. It's usually something pretty big that is wrong with your story or at war with your inner self that is not allowing you to move forward. I can write if I have to. I can spend the day clicking away and push out five thousand words when the story is right. When it is wrong, it is like trying to pet a cat the wrong way.
Nothing feels right.
Sometimes I go back and fix it, but sometimes I make a note of what needs fixing and move forward. The rough draft can be a little rough around the edges, but when you stop moving forward it stops getting done and that is not good either.