Thursday, April 23, 2009

14 wk novel - week 7: Getting unstuck, keeping your BIC, and making progress

Some people are able to keep plowing through, all the way to the end of the draft, while others write in fits and starts, sometimes getting stuck along the way. There are lots of reasons you could be stuck. Maybe you don’t know what your characters should do next (if you had an outline, you threw it out a long time ago). It could be that you’re bored with your story (probably need to add more conflict or a subplot). Or, you could just have other things that have had to take priority over this project. Maybe it’s another story, or work, school, family, or the need to sleep. Since it’s elephant week here on my blog ...

Maybe the elephants can help us get writing again:

* If your plot is stalled and your characters are wandering around aimlessly, send a herd of stampeding elephants through your story. Something is bound to happen.

* If you’re bored with your story, imagine that your characters are elephants. How does that change the story? What if they are elephants in space? Ok, that’s just silly, but sometimes you have to think up some crazy ideas to realize that your story is exciting, or maybe those crazy ideas will be just what your story needs.

* If checking email, getting a snack, or reading blogs keep you away from your writing, imagine that there’s a HUGE elephant behind you. There’s another elephant in front of you. Everywhere you look, elephants. Now imagine that all the elephants have just filled their trunks full of water and will spray you, unless you get back to work.

* If other commitments are keeping you away from your writing, try to think about your story even if you can’t write it all down. Elephants never forget, but you might not remember all the cool things you thought up while driving to soccer practice or sitting in a meeting at work. Keep a little notebook and a pen with you at all times so you can make notes to help you remember. You could also get a voice recorder or leave yourself voicemails or text messages.

** If you really need a break, take one. Even elephants visit the watering hole when they need to.

Goals for week #7: Write something every day, even if it’s just one word. Yes, “the” counts. Hopefully it will make you say, “the, what?” and keep writing. If you want to set a specific daily or weekly word count, that’s good too.

Link for this week:
There’s only one link for this week, because I’m sending you to a page that has a ton of writing articles by Alicia Rasley. I haven’t read them all, but the ones I have read have been great.

Quotes for this week:
“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.” ~Vita Sackville-West

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” ~Ana├»s Nin

“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.” ~Sharon O'Brien

“The wastebasket is a writer's best friend.” ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” ~Vladimir Nabakov

“I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.” ~Peter De Vries

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.” ~Joseph Heller

“The only cure for writer's block is insomnia.” ~Merit Antares

“The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes.” ~Agatha Christie

Happy Birthday to my husband, who is watching hockey as I write this. :)