Jonathan W. Stokes | The Children’s Book Review | October 14, 2016
Disclaimer: “Tips for Writer’s Block” is a satirical article written by Jonathan W. Stokes, author of Addison Cooke & the Treasure of the Incas.
If you’re working on a story about a heist, and it’s giving you trouble, consider robbing a bank. Casing the bank will get you out of the apartment. The fresh air will help clear your mind, and a little sun and vitamin D wouldn’t kill you.
Still blocked? An important step in any writer’s process is research. Have you measured the vault? Do you know how to convert bearer bonds? Do you have blueprints of the bank? If you tell the Department of Records you’re doing book research, they will be very cooperative.
Much like a painter with her brushes, or a carpenter with her hammer, a writer’s tools are essential to her craft. Do you have a glass-cutting diamond? Are the eyeholes cut large enough on your ski mask? Did you remember to file the serial number off your pistol? Writing is creative problem solving.
Always follow the adage: write what you know. Do you know how to crack a Class III Vault with a thermal lance? Have you practiced rappelling at the climbing gym? Have you learned how to raise the bank’s thermostat to mask your body from heat sensors? How comfortable are you with explosives? Writing tip: you only need three pounds of C-4 to destroy an armored truck.
Still have writer’s block? Don’t worry. Because now, you’re ready to select your characters. Find a munitions expert who won’t crack under pressure. Locate a brilliant yet quirky hacker who defuses tense situations with hilarious quips. Hire a wheelman with no outstanding parking tickets. Writing hint: do not use craigslist to find accomplices – you never know who you’re getting on the internet.
Hemingway said that good writing is in the details. I mean, he probably said this – I haven’t checked. The point is, remember to visualize every minute of your heist – every possible eventuality. Exercise vigorously. Renew your passport. Fill your gas tank the night before the heist. And eat a nutritious dinner.
It’s now the big day! You’re ready to begin writing! Before you step into the bank, consider injecting yourself with a syringe of phenobarbital to deaden your nerves and turn you into an ice-cold machine. Intimidate the bank security guards by shouting as loud as you can. Don’t just tell them you have a gun, fire a few bullets into the ceiling. Remember: show don’t tell.
Keep in mind what Horace wrote in Ars Poetica: it’s important to get into a scene as late as possible and get out as early as possible. Rob the bank just before closing when the teller drawers are flush with deposits. Leave before rush hour traffic.
Congratulations! Either you’ve pulled off the heist or are in the middle of a desperate high-speed chase. Either way, writer’s block is now the least of your worries. If you escape, the loot you’ve earned can be spent on writing courses that will have much more useful advice on writer’s block. Or, if you don’t escape, you will have plenty of time to confront writer’s block on the cellblock. Think of prison as an extended writer retreat. Free food, 23 hours a day of solitude, and all the characters you will need to inspire your next heist story. Happy writing!
About Jonathan W. Stokes
Jonathan W. Stokes is a former teacher who is now a rising star as a Hollywood screenwriter. He has written screenplays on assignment for Warner Brothers, Universal, Fox, Paramount, New Line, and Sony/Columbia. Inspired by a childhood love of The Goonies and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Jonathan set out to write his first novel, Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas. Born in Manhattan, he currently resides in Los Angeles, where he can be found showing off his incredible taste in dishware and impressive 96% accuracy with high fives.
Written by Jonathan W. Stokes
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Goonies meets Indiana Jones and James Patterson’s Treasure Hunters in this funny, action-filled adventure series!
Twelve-year-old Addison Cooke just wishes something exciting would happen to him. His aunt and uncle, both world-famous researchers, travel to the ends of the earth searching for hidden treasure, dodging dangerous robbers along the way, while Addison is stuck in school all day.
Luckily for Addison, adventure has a way of finding the Cookes. After his uncle unearths the first ancient Incan clue needed to find a vast trove of lost treasure, he is kidnapped by members of a shadowy organization intent on stealing the riches. Addison’s uncle is the bandits’ key to deciphering the ancient clues and looting the treasure . . . unless Addison and his friends can outsmart the kidnappers and crack the code first. So it’s off to South America, where the excitement, danger, gold, booby traps, and car chases are never-ending!
Full of laugh-out-loud moments and nonstop action, and perfect for fans of Indiana Jones or James Patterson’s Treasure Hunters series, Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas is sure to strike gold with kid readers.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Philomel Books | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399173776
Jonathan W. Stokes, author of Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas, selected these picture books that take on the challenge of change. Discover more articles on The Children’s Book Review tagged with Adventure, South America, Treasure Hunts, and Writing Tips.