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Dialogs

You probably know about dialogs, which were made popular by 1960’s psychologist and rebel, Fritz Perls. He used a two-chair technique to help a person figure out the meaning of his dreams. He told the person to take one role in a dream, then switch chairs and speak as the other parts of the dream. Or the two chairs could represent the Top Dog and Bottom Dog that most of us have– the voice that criticizes us and the impoverished underdog that often apologizes. The two chair technique can also be used to tackle problems left over from childhood. In one chair is the client and in the other, someone from childhood, like a parent, teacher or religious teacher. The client takes one position and often then goes to the other chair to find out what their parent, teacher or religious teacher might have experienced.

Similarly, dialogs with your block can also be very fruitful. You can also ask your unconscious to give you an image of the block. Then speak as that image and well as speaking to the image, using the same two-chair technique.

Dostoievsky did dialogs with his characters. Most never appear in his novels but he wanted to know what a character would do if confronted by another characters– how they would react if angry, sad, or facing a crisis, acting seductive, falling in love, cheating one another. He would pick opposite voices– up to eight of them, and he would write dialogs at length in his journals. The voices often became the characters, the characters became the plot, and the plot became the theme. Most of us have been trained to create the novel by starting with the theme, the plot, etc.

With the weather or setting can be another way to find out about your novel. Allowing the setting to speak to you, you may learn a lot about your novel. Even the weather can add depth to the novel. The weather does not appear in every scene of Hamlet or the Brother Karamazov but it does appear in crucial, outdoor scenes.

You can dialog with the work itself. This is one way that you can find out what your motivation is when writing, or in other words, why you are writing the story in the first place. The deeper the reason, especially if you need to write the story and you aren’t sure why, it can be enough to propel you through the hard places.

Your muse will also talk to you. If you need to find an image for your muse, use suggestions. Relax, focus and imagine a helping figure coming to you. Michael Samuels in book Spirit Guides, has guided meditations that produce a Muse. As an aside, Samuels also produced the best book on visualization ever– Seeing with the Mind’s Eye. Get it.

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