We have all been there, the initial rush of enthusiastic typing, the deluge of action and ideas has slowed down and every keystroke is now a painstaking test of character.
You have reached the doldrums, your novel is stuck in the drab and dreary and you feel like giving up.
Help is at hand, there are things you can do to get your zest back and put your writing back to awesomeness. The first thing to do is not to panic. Take time out and rest.
Giving your book a few days or even weeks of nurturing time will do your book and you a great deal of good. Sometimes to be away from “it” is the best thing you can do so that the next phase is building slowly in your unconscious mind and when the story is ready to continue, it will pour out like the breaking of the winter waterfall and cascade onto the page.
There are other things you can do also that will help the writing, these include:-
- Printing off your work and going through it page by page to produce a few bullet points as “chapter summaries”. My chapter summaries are 4 to 8 one liners for each chapter and they help you find the threads of the story, what happened and when and what the significant moments were. This is an absolutely priceless tool when editing, particularly when you have that spark of realisation that something is wrong when having your dinner and you need to find where Dave and Helen had that fight in the restaurant and fix something. Try piling through half the book to find that. Chapter summaries will help you find that easily.
- Then read your chapter summaries out loud and see what you get.
- Read the work out loud. How does it flow? Where do you stumble and what makes you want to put it down and correct that line or paragraph for some reason?
- Write a one page summary of the book so far. What insights about what might happen or should happen later in the book do you get? Write them down.
- Think out of the box. Let the lateral and “what if” brain take over for a while. What event could happen that is unexpected but is still congruent with the characters or story?
- Think about having a significant event happen; maybe a storm, a car crash, a building collapses, a stranger picks you up when you stumble, old Uncle Bob turns up at your door, something, anything different and see how and what happens to the characters during and after the event.
- Above all else, save it and save it to your back up. Never cease a piece of work even unfinished without backing it up.
Then, when the story is ready, it will let you know and you can continue on reinvigorated and energised.
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