I’m stuck. Yep, that’s right. At 50K words I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. Ugh! I feel like I’m losing my mind over this thing. I’ve got loose ends everywhere. I can’t seem to write dialogue to save my life. I just really don’t know what I’m doing all of a sudden.
So, here I go in search of help, where? Where else, the web. And I’ve come along some great advice that I’d like to share with those of you who might be stuck as well. Here we go…
The biggest piece of advice I think I found was that the problem isn’t the novel. It’s me. Duh, Ash. Of course! I mean, the novel isn’t writing itself, is it now? One blogger suggested changing up your writing routine. terribleminds recommends, “…make a change as to your writing habits. Maybe for a day. Maybe for a week. Do you normally write in your office? Go write at the dining room table. Or at a Starbucks. Or at a Hungarian bathhouse. Do you write in the morning? Write at night. If you write on a laptop, switch to a desktop, or an iPad, or write a chapter long-hand. Sometimes, jostling your habits shakes loose some of the bad juju that’s gumming up the novel.”
This next tip is something I’m considering doing. It’s kind of hard to know where you’re going if you can’t remember where you’ve been. Writer’s Digest suggests, “Start reading your manuscript, beginning with your opening scene, and look for moments there that are begging for embellishment, exploration and resonance, for opportunities that you wrote into the scenes but have yet to exploit. Now you get to open those scenes up, not close them down. Often these moments are those when you were surprised by what a character did or said. Or there might be something, an image, a notion, a theme that you started in the opening that fades away, fails to resonate. You need to see where you might reintroduce that something.
Take note of places where you forget you’re reading and enter the world of your book—these are the parts that are working. Examining the good passages will help you strengthen the weak ones.
Each time you read the manuscript over, you’ll see something new. Note the thematic connections, the narrative tangents. Listen to your story. Listen with a pen in your hand and jot down notes. What is the novel trying to tell you?”
Both of the aforementioned blogs suggest making some trouble as another way to get your novel going again. Get something started like blowing up a building, having the main character get stabbed, the heroine gets the results of some medical test and it’s bad news, and the like. Something to throw some fuel on the fire.
Wow! I’m getting motivated already. The biggest piece of advice I got because it applies to my particular issue was from Writer’s Digest again. “Now it dawns on you that writing a novel is itself very much a plot. Novels are about characters who want something. And you want something, too—to understand the lives of your own characters, which means resolving the trouble in your protagonist’s life, which means completing the novel—and you want it intensely.” That’s where I really need to get a move on it is resolving all the plot issues throughout my novel. Tie up the loose ends.
So, here I sit with great advice in my head, the laptop in my lap, and my WIP notebook beside me at the ready. I think it’s time to start at the beginning after I change my routine up a bit and see where things take me. If you’re stalled, I hope this and the other blog articles I’ve included can help you out of a jam. Let me know!