M. B. Weston’s Writing Diary: Writer Problems 01/27/15

Writer Problems: My hero just fell in the river, and he’s covered in iron… He’a gonna sink. He can take off his coat and live, but he really likes the coat. And he is immortal.

More Writer Problems: So technically, I can use the scene to show everyone how his immortality works! But how do I make it not be anything like Highlander?

These are problems only writers understand. They keep us awake at night and moving slowly in the morning. I love them because it just means when I solve them, the story is going to be better. I get nervous when I don’t have any problems because I fear it will be a boring story.

I figured today I would list some of the major problems I’ve dealt with in all my published/to-be-published stories, just to let everyone know that your story doesn’t have to be changed around just because you’ve hit a snag.

A Prophecy Forgotten: What happens to a angel’s clothing when it morphs into a human? Believe it or not, I had to rewrite all those parts. In the original story, the clothing magically changed into human clothes, but I wasn’t buying it, and I knew my audience wouldn’t either.

Out of the Shadows: How will Davian’s small army be able to sneak up on the City of Ezzer? Thank goodness Maurice still owned the Treetop Inn. Oh, and I had access to dragons…

The Survivor: My biggest problem was figuring out how to pull off the idea that Great Britain secretly tested its first airship 30 years before they actually built an airship, mainly because the story started with the airship crashing…

The Cherubian, the Lindworm, and the Portal: (an Elysian Chronicles short story): I had to figure out how Davian could sabotage a trebuchet in the middle of an enemy camp (at night, obviously) in such a way that the trebuchet would look completely operational until someone tried to use it…

The White Rider: (an Elysian Chronicles short story) I probably spent the most time trying to find a good location. I needed a city where my protagonist could walk to work and walk past an angel statue. (I needed it for symbolic purposes.) I settled on Boston with its Angel of the Waters statue.

The Witch Hunter: A blog post on this will happen soon, since this story is about to be published in The Big Bad Two villains anthology. My biggest problem: I realized two days before it was due that I needed to rewrite the whole thing in 1st person–only the main character had Alzheimer’s, so I had to write it in such a way that the audience could follow the story even though the main character couldn’t. It was a structural nightmare. 8,000 words 100% rewritten. 48 hours. I slept for only two of them.

Blue Lights: Wow, this was hard. My first psychological thriller that takes place on the moors of Dartmoor (Hound of the Baskervilles territory). I needed fog dark enough to blind my characters for a few moments while they rode in an open carriage, but it had to be realistic. Imagine my excitement when I came across “swaling”, which is the controlled burning they do on the moors…

The Death of Angelica Blackmore: My 19th century steampunk heroine simply couldn’t wear a Victorian dress and corset and leap across the rooftops of London at night… I gave her a modified ninja outfit because I needed her face covered…

What about you? What kinds of writing problems have you encountered and how did you solve them?


About M. B. Weston

M. B. Weston is an award-winning fantasy, pulp, young adult, steampunk, and paranormal author. Her attention to procedure and detail gives her works an authentic gritty, military feel that takes an adventure tale to the level of a true page-turner. Weston’s writing attracts both fantasy and non-fantasy readers, and her audience ranges from upper-elementary students to adults. A gifted orator, Weston has been invited as a guest speaker to numerous writing and science fiction/fantasy panels at conventions across the US, including DragonCon, BabelCon, NecronomiCon, and Alabama Phoenix Festival. She has served on panels with such authors as Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. F. Lewis, Todd McCaffrey, and Jonathan Maberry. Weston has spoken to thousands of students and adults about the craft of writing and has been invited as the keynote speaker at youth camps and at several schools throughout the US.
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