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Question
Hello, my name is Ashley and I was seeking help with a little writers block that I've had for a couple days now. I can't figure out a certain part in my story that's going to set the pace for the following events to come. The story itself is about a case of mistaken identity when a mom gets mistaken for her daughter due to her short height and youthful looks by a babysitter. The part I'm stuck on is the introduction of the mom and the sitter and how the mix up happens. In the end the daughter explains to the sitter there was a mix up, but the daughter left long enough to be gone part of the day. Any suggestions as to how the sitter would mistake the mom for the daughter?

Answer
Hey Ashley!

Writer's block is a common phenomenon among writers, creative or otherwise.  I'm glad you decided to get some advice with it, rather than stewing in it or, even worse, giving up because of it!

I also noticed that rather than ask how to get over or deal with writer's block, you asked for help with a particular sticking point.  That's great!  This is a much more pragmatic way of dealing with it.  It's not about "getting over" writer's block, it's about being as productive as you can be despite it.  Your mentality seems very fortuitous and proactive.

Ok, so on to some ideas:

1. Remember, you don't necessarily have to create the story in order at the get-go.  You could put this particular dilemma aside and focus on other parts of the story that you have a clearer idea about or are more stimulated by right now.  The solution may come to you later, whether through a sudden epiphany or through a natural progression of how other parts of the story come together.

2. Consider looking into actual, real-life cases of when this has happened.  This may also stimulate your creativity, not to mention add credibility to your mistaken-identity situation.  A precursory google search helped me come up with the following ideas:
-The mom recently got some kind of surgery to look younger.
-The mom is actually a very young step-mom.
-The mom and daughter happen to be wearing exactly the same or similar clothes that day.

Sure, those aren't the best ideas that a writer could come up with, but that's just after five minutes or so.  The key point is to make search engines your friend!

3. Consider other parameters.  What else would you want established prior to the mix up?  For example, has the babysitter seen the mother and/or daughter?  If so, how could the babysitter plausibly mix them up?  Has she seen a picture or photo of either of them?  Does the babysitter know their names?

4.  Consider your own experience: have you ever mixed people up?  If so, how did it happen?  Can you use your own experiences to create a believable scenario?

Hope that helps!  I'm curious to know how you're going to use such a device in your story, sounds interesting!

Creative Writing

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Brian Connelly

Expertise

I can answer questions about how to start writing creatively, how to keep motivated to finish a creative writing project or write creatively on a consistent basis, how to come up with creative writing ideas and how to improve creative writing in general.

Experience

My university major was English literature, and I've been a (mostly) amateur writer for about 20 years.

Publications
Quill Books Poetry Anthology Local Alaskan newspaper

Education/Credentials
Bachelor's in English Literature (North Carolina State University)

Awards and Honors
Editor's choice award for one short story and one poem Three published poems in national anthologies

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