Captain Trips and the Permanent Cure for Writers Block

47 Responses to “Captain Trips and the Permanent Cure for Writers Block”


  1. VixenNo Gravatar says:

    First, I must mention that I think The Stand is one of the greatest books ever written. Every time I read it, I see something new in it.

    This research thing is brilliant. I know that my better posts (my opinion only) are ones that I did do research on. Not having much experience with writing, I never knew that was one of the ways to improve writing. Thanks for sharing.

    I hope you beat Captain Trips.

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 10th, 2008 2:54 pm:

    The Stand is a great book. 🙂

    The more research you do, the more you have to work with and the less you will have to struggle in order to write. I think it’s simple mathematics. But, for some reason, it never clicked with me until I read Gary’s newsletter.

    I am starting to feel better. 🙂

  2. Speaking of Captain Trips, I got a really bad mosquito bite on the back of my neck. I was worried that it might be carrying the EEE virus, which admittedly isn’t as bad as ol’ Trips, but still pretty nasty. I did some extensive online research (as far as you know), and it turns out that the painful bump isn’t a mosquito bite at all, but a second head. It’s just starting to bud, of course, but I can look forward to become a hoopy frood soon.

    … yup, you’re right: the research helped.

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 10th, 2008 2:58 pm:

    Judging by your comment here, maybe you should check to see if that mosquito injected you with LSD. 🙂

    Eric "Cluck" KnappNo Gravatar reply on June 10th, 2008 8:29 pm:

    I knew it was a three letter acronym … EEE … LSD … close enough. I was really hoping that someone would have picked up on the two-headed hoopy frood reference.

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 10th, 2008 9:16 pm:

    Haha! Sorry, I’m still sick and not thinking too straight. Believe it or not, I’ve never read Douglas Adams. If I would have felt better, I would have been able to do a little “research” and give you a better reply to your comment. 🙂

  3. donNo Gravatar says:

    Isn’t that remarkable? I use the exact opposite method. I do absolutely no research at all.
    I simply make up every fact I use and quote sources that would sue me to my bare skin if they were to actually read my posts. Fortunately very few do. And I’ve never had a problem with writers block. Those that do seem to be the types who worry about whether their writing makes any sense. As you can see, I avoided that problem as well.

    Get better soon.

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 10th, 2008 3:14 pm:

    Be careful, Don! No one wants to see you get sued to your bare skin. No one. 🙂

  4. ClaireNo Gravatar says:

    I think I need to read ‘The Stand’ sounds like a good book.

    I always do a bit of research even if I am not going to use the information.

    Hope you feel better soon 🙂

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 11th, 2008 4:39 pm:

    The Stand is a great book. I highly recommend it, but I warn you, it’s pretty scary. 🙂

    I am starting to feel much better. Thank you. 🙂

  5. Jenn ThorsonNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve always used the research method myself unless I was telling a memoir sort of story. And actually, even then I fact-check a little. Ah… Captain Trips… it’s been a while since I read The Stand. Hopefully the Rooster will be out and crowing again soon.

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 11th, 2008 4:54 pm:

    Thanks, Jenn! I’m not quite crowing yet, but I’m starting to feel much better! 🙂

  6. timethiefNo Gravatar says:

    I haven’t read The Stand for a very long time and can’t remember it well. I think it’s stored away in one of my book boxes so if I find it when I do my fall housecleaning, I’ll add it to my winter reading list.

    The idea of kick starting the writer’s muse by doing some research is a good one for most bloggers. In my case I have several contract projects on the go that require lots of environmental research. Thus, when I sit down to blog my eyes cross at the thought of doing even more research. Actually, I’ve been thinking along the lines of writing blog posts based on outright lies and total fabrications like renalfailure does.

    Get well soon William. 🙂

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 11th, 2008 8:25 pm:

    Just continue writing great blog posts like you are now. There are enough blogs based on outright lies and total fabrications. Besides, I think people are starting to get tired of that sort of thing–look how the ratings are dropping at Fox News. 🙂

  7. Comedy PlusNo Gravatar says:

    Well, it certainly makes sense. What a great idea. I’ll give it a go. Feel better soon. 🙂

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 11th, 2008 6:38 pm:

    Thanks! I am feeling much better now. 🙂

  8. UniNo Gravatar says:

    Better a visit from Captain Trips than Captain Howdy anytime. Glad you are starting to feel better.

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 11th, 2008 9:37 pm:

    You’re right, with Captain Howdy there’s a lot more puking and Latin involved. 🙂

    A special thanks to you for emailing the wonderful remedies–they may have saved my life. 🙂

    UniNo Gravatar reply on June 12th, 2008 6:01 am:

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww shucks (blushing)

    Just doing my part to keep the world full of twisted points of view.

  9. tashabudNo Gravatar says:

    I’m a late comer to your post. I’m glad you dropped me one of your entrecards, otherwise I would never have discovered your great site. I’m a novice writer–A successful published author wannabee. I have to admit that with the novel I’m writing now, my first attempt at writing a novel, i haven’t done much research for it. Since I’m making all the stuff up as I go along, I pretty much do minor research when something comes up that I don’t know. I suppose what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t have a written structured plan for my novel. Everything is in my head. I know this is not the proper way. Thanks for the tips. I’ll try to behave more like a professional writer and start employing all the tools available to me in order to succeed, rather than just winging my way around.

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 13th, 2008 6:12 am:

    I was hoping a fiction writer would leave a comment because I wanted to say something about fiction in particular. If you are stuck writing for a character, try researching that character–even if it’s only in your own head!

    Ask yourself questions like: Where does this character work?; where did he/she go to school?; what’s his/her favorite food?; etc. The more you know about a character, the easier it will be to write for him/her.

    I don’t think it’s necessary to do a bunch of research if it’s not your style. Just write any way you want as long as it works for you.

    There are no rules for how to approach writing; everyone does it differently.

    Eric "Cluck" KnappNo Gravatar reply on June 13th, 2008 11:02 am:

    You are absolutely correct about fiction – even when writing a book about zombie chickens there is research that needs to be done. It certainly applies to characters (how does a real estate agent behave, vs. a wannabe farmer?) but also to the setting. I researched chicken species and chicken parasites extensively, for example. I was able to ‘research’ chicken behavior easily, because I own a small flock of the lil’ guys. Another type of research involves literary and cultural references, which I always try to pepper throughout my writing. Again, to use Cluck as an example, I re-read both “Dracula” and “the Raven” because I wanted there to be parallels that would delight the well-read among m audience. There are some more subtle references to Python, Douglas Adams, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and dozens more for the same reason: I love it when I notice an obscure reference to something off the wall … like two-headed hoopy froods … and I want my readers to have a shot at that as well.

    UniNo Gravatar reply on June 14th, 2008 7:18 am:

    Hoopy Froods have been driving me nuts. Rainbow’s End or Hitchhikers Guide?

    Eric "Cluck" KnappNo Gravatar reply on June 16th, 2008 6:13 am:

    Hoopy Froods is from Hitchhikers. Ford Prefect, who happened to have two heads, used the term which roughly translates to ‘cool dude’.

  10. ettaroseNo Gravatar says:

    I am so sorry my favorite dead rooster is under the weather. I sure hope you feel better. I do research on my other blog. A lot in fact. It is very important that I present the facts when telling people to help those less fortunate. EOS on the other hand needs very little research. I mostly tell people how pissed I am. That is life learning. Easy to tell. 🙂

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 13th, 2008 8:12 pm:

    Thanks! I’m starting to feel better, but I haven’t totally shaken this thing yet. Captain Trips is very tenacious.

    I love your blog. 🙂

  11. ettaroseNo Gravatar says:

    Forgot to mention, the Stand is AWESOME!

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 13th, 2008 8:13 pm:

    I agree. Great novel. I should re-read it myself! 🙂

  12. StevoNo Gravatar says:

    I’m glad to see someone use Captain Trips in a post title. Great job.

    This was a cool post. I’m glad I found your blog.

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 13th, 2008 8:13 pm:

    Thanks, Stevo! 🙂

  13. GaryJayNo Gravatar says:

    “LRS”—WELL DAMN! just putting a name on it helps solve the problem—sure glad came across your blog. got here via Wayne John, Pot Politics—-and then spotting your bog title—I figure with a name like that its gotta be good—-and I was right. I am adding ya to by blog list—

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 14th, 2008 4:09 pm:

    Welcome aboard, Gary! I’m always happy to see new readers. 🙂

    And thanks for the comment! 🙂

  14. Whats up Brother hope by this time that your back up to speed;)
    Speaking of speed things have been going quite well.I have had a lot to write
    about but I often have to censor myself. People are just so touchy
    ah the hell with them I write for the google bot anyway;)
    I see right above me some body came by 😉
    I was just thinking as far as research and things of that nature.
    The main difference I see is that your a writer who blogs
    I’m a blogger who wishes he could write.
    Keep up the great work 🙂

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 14th, 2008 4:14 pm:

    ‘Sup bro! Glad things have been going well–you deserve it! 🙂

    And, thanks for the traffic! 🙂

    John SullivanNo Gravatar reply on June 15th, 2008 6:39 pm:

    William consider this an invite for you and your readers can also.It is a writing project that I mentioned on my blog and here
    the email add for the project is
    3 pages to maybe be apart of history 😉
    Even a caveman can do that
    Your the BEST Happy Father’s Day Everyone

  15. ChristineNo Gravatar says:

    How weird-ironic … The Stand was on today on the SciFi channel. That movie (and the book) is really captivating. I have a ZERO attention span. Which also leads to writers block ALL THE TIME. Even though I am just a “personal blogger” I like to actually write INTERESTING things sometimes (and not just me moping or talking about my kids antics). I should watch the news or something more 😉 Hope you feel better SOON!

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 15th, 2008 7:27 pm:

    Oh, man, I missed it!

    I am all better now. Thanks! 🙂

  16. Gary R. HessNo Gravatar says:

    I hate writer’s block with a passion.

    I also love The Stand. Nice post 🙂

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 15th, 2008 7:27 pm:

    Thanks, Gary! 🙂

  17. I came for the EntreCard and stayed when I saw “Captain Trips.” And stayed longer for the great post, which was funny, despite your disclaimer. And helpful. In addition to researching a particular topic, it’s fun to research ANYthing by Stumbling, clicking the “Random Entry” on wikipedia, or Googling unlikely search terms.

    Baby, can you dig your man?

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on June 15th, 2008 7:39 pm:

    “Baby, can you dig your man?” LOL haha! 🙂

    Wow! It’s been so long since I read The Stand that I almost didn’t remember that. But, it crept back into my brain, just now.

    I am REALLY glad you ate Lucky Charms (So i didn’t have to). 🙂

  18. PetraNo Gravatar says:

    I hope you feel better soon! I need something funny to read – not something informative! Altho I must admit, its rather good info to know.

  19. PatrickNo Gravatar says:

    I totally agree how doing some research helps in writing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  20. Eric! No, no, no. Zaphod Beeblebrox had two heads. Ford had one. Granted, Ford was a hoopy frood, but still…

  21. Hey there this is somewhat of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted
    to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    William McCammentNo Gravatar reply on May 15th, 2014 8:47 pm:

    Yes, WordPress has a built-in WYSIWYG editor. 🙂