America's Lady of Supernatural Thrillers

“Raven's Cove, a great mystery by Mary Ann Poll. Avoid it when winds are gusting to hurricane speed outside. No extra creepiness needed.”
~Bonnye Matthews
Step aside Stephen King, Alaska’s Mary Ann Poll is here to spin new tales of the super-natural and the ungodly, as her heroes and heroines take on the forces of evil on 'The Last Frontier.' ~Jeff Babcock

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One Reason for Writer’s Block: An Undefined Story Problem

Questions complicated I have enormous respect for authors of reference books for other writers. There is one in particular that I go to time and again—The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood.

If you are having difficulty beginning your novel, or if you’re stuck on chapter three, you need some trouble. Your main character REALLY needs a story problem to make her/him interesting to your reader. One great idea can be found in The Pocket Muse:

Monica Wood states:”Most Good Stories Are About Trouble.”


This is true. In the Alaska Iconoclast series, my characters have several problems. Kat (the protagonist) has difficulty with commitment. Bart (her cousin and the town’s one police officer) is caused the most trouble when he cannot protect the town he swore to serve. These are underlying problems for the characters to overcome.

In most good books, there is one main story problem. In the Alaska Iconoclast Series this trouble unites the characters in a common cause—to save the town of Ravens Cove.

So, when you are stuck, maybe it’s because there’s a problem you (or your character) need to solve. Ask what causes your character the most trouble: An unsolved murder of a close loved one? Trouble with regret? Financial stress that may cause the character to consider becoming a thief? Trouble with a  spouse? Trouble with a stalker? A broken down car on a deserted highway?

Find the question. The answer will write itself.

Until next time,

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