So, I haven’t written a blog post for about six weeks, and that’s because I’ve been primarily focused on a new WIP. But it’s not even that new, I actually first came up with the idea and a loose structure back in September. But it was never coming together, until about six weeks ago.
So, after writing about some of the issues I had with books I’d read and movies I’d seen, I was surprised to find that I’d really given short shrift to structure in this story. So I went to my favorite website, Glen Strathy’s how-to-write-a-book-now.com and decided to write good, solid outline. But I’ve always had a problem understanding all of the terminologies and so I spent a lot of time on the Dramatica website.
And that time was well-spent. There’s a ton of technical jargon and a steep learning curve to Dramatica, but, if you’re someone like me who struggles to plot things out and works well from an outline, it’s well worth it.
I now have a full outline to work with and have written out every scene “needed” to tell the complete story. But I still have to write it and I still have to connect all of the dots and I’ve found a solution that works week for that even if it is something that seems like it’ll slow me down: I write about what I’m writing.
For instance, in the opening scene, I knew that one of the characters was going to have to tell a harrowing story about why they were behaving the way they were. But I had no idea what that story was going to be. So, I literally just started writing about what it could possibly be. After coming up with three or four really bad ideas, I came upon one that was pretty good.
But I didn’t stop there. I looked at that pretty good idea and made tweaks and changes to it until it was right where I wanted it to be.
And then I sat down and wrote out the scene, which flowed incredibly easy.
We all get stuck and it’s easy to come up with excuses for writer’s block. But it’s also easy to write nonsense for five minutes until things start making sense. You’d be surprised how effective you can be if you spend a bit of each morning writing about what you’re going to write about, and then, in the evening, spend time writing about how your writing day went and what you’re going to do tomorrow.
Many authors from Stephen King to John Dufresne to Julia Cameron, have advocated Morning writing, but evening writing, what could that possibly accomplish?
A couple of things, I think.
First, Hemingway and Fitzgerald both advocated ending the day before finishing a scene. That way, you can begin writing the next day by finishing the scene and won’t be staring at that awful blank page.
But also, for me, when I plan my next day I get a great deal out of it. I know that I having something to write the next day so that takes some of the pressure off. But also, and more importantly, I’ve already started thinking about the next stage and, having ruminated about it in my slumber, often find better ways to say things.
What about you? What methods do you use for not only getting the writing started but keeping it going?