I have talked about writers block before. Writers block is the evil little menace that will afflict every writer at some point. You know what I am talking about. You have this brilliant idea and the words (or dialogue in my case) are flowing. The storyline and the characters are great and then suddenly you crash, like a twenty car pile up, you hit that brick wall. You’re stuck and not even a jackhammer can get you through the block.
It’s happened to me numerous times. If an idea comes to me and is any good, I never give up on it. I stick with it. If the wall is built like an impenetrable fortress and I can’t break through then I set the idea aside for a while and work on other things. Eventually something will hit me when I least expect it and I can move forward. That happened last night.
My most recent play (Which will be my fourth.) about Baseball Broadcasting has been sitting on the shelf for two years, waiting for me to blow through the block. The idea is set at WPLM in Portland Maine, the flagship to the Portland Seadogs. (The Red Sox AA farm team.) The play revolves Chick McSorley, a former washed up bombastic Baseball player, who turns to Broadcasting to save his life. Chick is not only bombastic, no one likes him and he is a drunk. Chick was the reason I came up with this idea. The character came to me one night while having a strange dream about my radio days.
Last night, I broke through that wall and saw “Play By Play,” in a new light, while watching a British show on Netflix called “Lovesick.” My focus turned to “Play By Play,” when I was watching this one particular actress named Hannah Britland. She plays a key character in Lovesick. As I am watching her I couldn’t help but think that if I were directing “Play By Play”, she would be perfect for the female lead Abby Rollins. After the show was over, I couldn’t get my mind out of “Play By Play”. I began to go over what I had written. I wanted to know why I couldn’t break through the block.
I realized I had overcomplicated my play. There were too many things going on. At the end of Act One, Chick meets his new play by play guy, named Marty Busby, a young broadcaster trying to get his first break. My original plan was to have Abby become the producer of the games and help Marty improve his Baseball Broadcasting skills. That’s where the love story would have come in. Then like that, it hit me. “Wait,” I asked myself, “is Marty really needed? Isn’t this just another one of those tired stories, where a guy’s career is kick started by the woman he loves. I wasn’t giving Abby enough credit. I put her in a thankless receptionist job who is promoted to broadcast producer of sports. No, I didn’t want that for her.
It took me five minutes before a different story became clear. Abby(Whose name might change.) is going to be Chick’s play by play partner. Not only that, she’s his long lost daughter from a one night stand Chick had in the minors. Chick has never met her.
I have added another wrinkle now. In the play I keep mentioning this bonus baby pitcher named Bobby Robertson. I talk about him, but my plan was not to make him a character. Now, he is, which creates another interesting idea for the second story in the play. I am fully set to move forward with this play, once I rework the outline.
As writers, ideas hit us at the strangest times and it’s one of the beauties of it. An idea will come to you when you’re in the woods going for a walk, or when you are reading a book, or in my case through dreams or watching a simple little romantic comedy show called “Lovesick.” If you’re a writer and you’re blocked, don’t give up on the idea. I suggest putting the idea down and when you least expect it, something profound will hit you that will solve your block.