Monday, September 15, 2014

10 Novelist-Tested Ways to Defeat Writers Block from Acclaimed Author Warren Adler

Warren Adler is best known for The War of the Roseshis masterpiece fictionalization of a macabre divorce turned into the Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated dark comedy hit starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. In addition to the success of the stage adaptation of his iconic novel on the perils of divorce, Adler has optioned and sold film rights to more than a dozen of his novels and short stories to Hollywood and major television networks. In recent development are the Broadway Production of The War of the Roses, to be produced by Jay and Cindy Gutterman, The War of the Roses – The Children (Permut Presentations), a feature film adaptation of the sequel to Adler’s iconic divorce story, and Capitol Crimes (Sennett Entertainment), a television series based on his Fiona Fitzgerald mystery series.Adler's forthcoming thriller Treadmill, is slated to be released in September. Learn more about Warren Adler at, and connect with him through Facebook and Twitter.

* * * 

10 Novelist-Tested Ways to Defeat 

Writer’s Block 

1. Reread your favorite novels, the ones that once inspired you to be a writer.
One of my favorite books is the Red and the Black by Stendhal, not surprisingly, it makes an appearance in my new novel Treadmill.

2. Rewatch your favorite movies, the ones that made you hope your work would follow suit.
No one can deny that electric feeling of inspiration that sparks up after watching a great movie.

3. Take long walks and concentrate on observing those things around you. Change your focus from inside of yourself to outside. Never underestimate the power of leaving your writing desk for a quick tango with nature. 9 times out of 10, you’ll return with a fresh palette of ideas and a renewed sense of motivation.

4. See a stage play or musical revival that you once enjoyed on film or on live stage. 
My all-time favorite musical and film is My Fair Lady.

5. Don’t frustrate yourself by starting something new until your imagination reveals a new idea for a story.
Never force an artistic endeavor. When the muse comes to visit you, you’ll know it right away.
6. Exercise frequently, avoid alcohol or drugs, and avoid any negativity—It leads to depression and locks creativity.
I am a great believer in the benefits of Pilates and do it twice weekly.

7. Read newspapers. Many great novels have come out of newspaper stories.
My third novel, The Henderson Equation, was inspired by the Washington Post’s relentless pursuit of President Richard Nixon, which became the political scandal of the century known today as Watergate. It made the careers of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, and brought lifetime laurels to the publisher of The Washington Post, Katherine Graham, editor at the time, Ben Bradlee, and a host of writers, who have since analyzed, parsed, recounted and fictionalized the episode ad infinitum in hundreds of books and media, including the Academy Award winning film, All the President’s Men.

8. Keep your antenna circling, looking for story ideas.
It is always difficult to describe to people how a story idea enters a novelist’s consciousness. By the time I began to write The War of the Roses I had already published nine novels and my antenna must have been circulating feverishly searching for a new idea until it finally came to me.
9. Listen carefully to conversations. Don’t shut off contacts with friends and acquaintances.
I am always writing a story in my head and I never pass up the chance to listen in on a good conversation (even bad ones). The idea for The War of the Roses came to me at a dinner party in Washington in 1979. One of our female friends was dating a lawyer, who was her guest at the party. At some point, he looked at his watch and announced that he had to get home or his wife would lock him out of the house. When asked why, he said he was in the process of getting a divorce and was living under the same roof and sharing facilities and that part of the agreement was a strict set of rules on coming and goings and the division of living quarters.

The dilemma expressed by this dinner guest might be called the “eureka” moment. The story quickly formed in my mind and, with the exception of a brief conversation with a Judge who was an expert in domestic law, I did no other legal research on the subject of divorce. Oddly, many people have become convinced, including said dinner guest, that somehow I had burrowed into the legal files of their various divorce actions. I cannot tell you how many times, over the years, people have accused me of “stealing their divorces.” I tried countering this accusation by explaining that a novel’s story grows out of a novelist’s imagination and the amalgamation of his or her observations and experiences, but to little avail.

10. Above all, don’t whine to them about your problem.

Be sure to share your tips in the comments section below!


Don't miss Warren Adler's newest release, TREADMILL.
Jack Cooper is an unhappy man, mind, body, and spirit. In the span of months he lost his longstanding job to the economy, his mother to illness, and his wife to her secret lover. Beaten, broken, and crippled by the tragedies of life, he withdraws from aspirations and passion, narrowing his life down to the simplest of routines in order to block out the pain and prevent any in the future: wake up, go to the Bethesda Health Club—his personal oasis where his mind and body can be free—come back home, escape from reality with his books, go to bed. Nothing more, nothing less.
That is, until he meets the enigmatic Mike Parrish. Stolen from the hospital as a newborn and passed around from household to household, Parrish has no official identification—to the government and the world at large, he does not exist. He is a drifter, and the first person that Cooper has more than a superficial conversation with. Cooper finds solace in Parrish, a man who understands Cooper’s plight and is sympathetic to his pain.
And then Parrish disappears off the face of the Earth, leaving Cooper to search for a virtually invisible man. As Cooper chases leads as fleeting as shadows and looks for clues as intangible as ghosts, his search leads him back to the one place that he called his refuge: the Bethesda Health Club. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I'm glad I dropped by. I needed to hear these thoughts Warren. They are simple and concrete. And, if you've produced as many works as you have, and still need helps to deal with writer's block, I guess I'm in good company! Thanks for the encouragement!