After The Swan Bonnet reached the HarperCollins Editor Desk at Authonomy.com, I began a total rewrite. An agent had expressed interest and I wanted to do something about my protagonist being among so many adult characters. I made her a few years older and added chapters. Never having added chapters to a work that way, I worried that I might not be able to jump in and imagine them. These are ideas for jumpstarting your story.
1. Sleep on it. Literally doing that might help. I haven't actually slept with the manuscript under my pillow but I've slept with it near my head. I've found written notes in my bed. Creative writing often emerges from the unconscious as dreaming does. When I first began writing, I used to put my typewriter in its case because I tended to brood on my story. Over a fresh day and during sleep, I collected thoughts about my WIP. Often, the hurdle I couldn’t jump was no longer there the next morning.
2. Revise into your blank page. Ernest Hemingway said that he typed at least the last paragraph he wrote the previous day before writing a new paragraph. It might seem wasteful but I often find that retyping a page or more improves the flow. However perfect a writer is as a typist, they hardly ever write down the perfect paragraph the first time. If a person has a busy day ahead, they might have trouble landing down to the next sentence in the WIP.
|What are those flowers? Photo from freedigitalphotos.com|
3. Do some fact checking. Solve some concrete details in the WIP. You have an idea of your character's taste in clothing, cars, or food. Go shopping for her or him, even if it's in another time period. Look up information about your setting or find facts that build on an event or scene. Write it down. Describe. Did you know that Margaret Mitchell wrote a character study - an individual history of every character in Gone with the Wind - before she began the book?
4. Free write. Before I begin anything, I usually get out a pen and simply write on notebook paper about my project. You can free-write at any time. Take a fresh page and let yourself go. Write around your next page. Speculate on character responses or "might-have-beens" in your WIP. Something behind the story might be preventing the story from simmering.
5. Change your surroundings. Some writers pick up and change place. I felt unleashed when I first got a laptop. I could write in any room and in comfortable positions. Once, writers used portable typewriters but electric typewriters and PCs put them through a desk period. Now with a tablet that came with a small keyboard, I can write anywhere, as long as I'm not trying for speed. Alone, a writer might become too self-conscious. In most jobs, we work around and with other people. The solitary time of writing can become a lazy time.
And here in Northern Minnesota, I often take time off in the summer. Our summers are so precious that I can easily abscond from the writing habit. Somehow, when school begins, I focus again but I might need a jumpstart. Looking back on writing I’d done, I wasn’t sure that the grind was a good thing. Discipline is, but taking time to gather the thoughts and absorb the present is a part of the creative process. Writing again, well, hopes are that the keyboard is that bicycle and a writer might whizz on it when they want to.
The Swan Bonnet is on a blog tour this month! Here are the blog stops from As You Wish Tours, blogs to check out for books, reviews, and new releases.
|Aug 10||Julia||Hendrix||As You Wish Reviews|
|Aug 11||Crystal||Allmon||Out There Reviews & Stuff|
|Aug 12||Ann||Snizek||Rambling Voices In My Head|
|Aug 13||Cheree||Crump||Confessions of the Paranormal|
|Aug 14||Kelly||Powell||Kelly P's Blog|
|Aug 15||RaeBeth||Buda||The Writing World|
|Aug 16||Cassie||Chavez||Sassy Cassie's Reviews|
|Aug 17||S.Cu'Anam||Policar||Cu's Ebook Giveaways|
|Aug 18||Melissa||Baker||Buried Under Books|
|Aug 19||Andrea||Buginsky||Andi's Realm|
|Aug 20||Tina||Donnelly||Reading For Fun|
|Aug 21||Christina||Irelan||Intoxicated by Books|
|Aug 22||Itara||Sosa||My Midnight Fantasies|