Stuck writing my novel

A week ago, you were SO excited! You sat down to put your story on paper, or more likely, on a computer screen. Now what? Remind y ourself that almost all writers have and will hit a roadblock. And who knows? Get clear on how important this project is to you. What are the right answers to these questions?

The truth. Why do you want to write this book? After all, if you finish this book, it might get some attention. Then you might hear from interviewers from other parts of the country.

stuck writing my novel

If any of this happens, the question you will have to answer again and hopefully again is: Why did you write this book? You might as well prepare your answer to this question now.

Or, maybe you like writing, but right now you have other priorities that need more of your attention.

Writing advice: what to do when you’re stuck

You can always plan for longer time periods for writing, if you later realize your schedule will allow it. If your deadline is set by a client or an editor, then you need to focus on getting the job done. Take a quick mental break if you need it. Then sit down and plan how you will finish the rest of your writing between now and that deadline. If you need a minute to feel freaked out or overwhelmed, fine. Then, overcome feeling overwhelmed by remembering your reasons for writing and taking time to plan the next steps to bring you closer to meeting your goals.

You can even take a productive break by writing about something else. Your dreams and your readers are waiting. Write to reach them! This Week in Writing provides quick tips and encouragement for writers of all genres.

Take a look. Get started. Open in app. Sign in. Write For Us. Feeling Stuck While Writing? Read This! Maya Spikes. Written by Maya Spikes. Writer, blogger and content marketer. Are you a writer? Sign up for This Week In Writing. Get this newsletter.Remember how I just said to be careful? Just kidding. Be reckless with your writing, that is.

stuck writing my novel

Perhaps you have one story in your mind but your heart wants to go in another direction. That direction may not have the happy ending that you were hoping for.

Or it may. You have nothing to lose if you just start writing from your gut. You can always revise. Here are 9 additional tips to help you get unstuck when writing a novel. Subscribe to receive this extra resource. You may be stuck because of something going on in your personal life. This is why journaling is a must for every author.

Journaling allows you to achieve mental clarity by removing all of those nagging concerns that clutter your brain. Not only can you journal your day-to-day life, but you can also list future goals, celebrate personal growth, and discover the value in your personal and professional relationships.

Journaling allows for introspection and self-examination. The resulting vulnerability and self-awareness are must-haves for riveting storytelling.

But this is my favorite reason to journal: The process of documenting your thoughts will improve your writing. Every time you put pen to paper, you hone your skills and become a better writer. Journaling is never a useless exercise. So, if you're stuck in your novel, pick up the journal and get real with your thoughts and goals. When did the writing become difficult? This is the one exception.

What To Do When You Get Stuck With Your Novel - NaNoWriMo Writing Chat

It makes sense— he or she is the star of your story. While your novel may not follow their lives as closely, the supporting characters are still essential to a riveting and realistic story. They may need additional development or a stronger back story. Here are 5 tips to creating a killer back story. No shame. This is a safe place. Outlining is one of those things that either you love to do or you hate with the heat of a thousand suns.

Access your left brain to find the logic in your story. Draw a path from the start of your story to the end. You can start from where you are and plot a course. How does your story end? In fact, instead of trying to write your way to the end, just skip ahead and write the ending now.

Plus, writing the end ahead of time will allow you to take your time.There are several reasons why you could feel too unprepared to begin: Uncertainty about the merits of your story idea, lack of research and other preparation, or simply being new to novel-writing as a process. Simply getting words on the page is all you should aim at until you get past the initial terror of the blank page and allow yourself to play and simply enjoy writing more.

So write them down. This is why journalling is an excellent practice for authors — both new authors and experienced writers alike. Keeping a journal helps because:. Before you can work out how to start writing a novel, you first need to work out how to stop making excuses not to write. You story idea is the central premise that all the character motivations and plot events stem from.

The millionaire turns out to be not what he seems. Novel ideas often focus on characters and their interesting differences in this way. Difference can be a source of conflict or mystery, both of which help to keep readers riveted. Solving your own mystery or resolving your own conflict will be an enjoyable process of discovery.

Find research sources that are relevant to your story. If your story is a murder mystery that takes place in the cobbled streets of an old Eastern European town, use Google Street View to take a virtual tour of similar streets for inspiration. If you need to know what people thought, wore and ate in a specific era in a specific region, history books and public archives can be helpful.

stuck writing my novel

Government archives may be particularly useful for finding the research you need to start writing a novel. The US national archives, for example, contain articles and records on the Civil War. Once you have gathered together necessary facts about places and people, write these down in summary form in a separate document under headings that can be searched quickly whenever you need to look something up while writing. An alternative approach is to look up factual or historical details if your setting is not contemporary as you go, whenever the need arises.

Although many people profess to be pantsers and loathe the outlining process, creating a plot outline gives you a roadmap for your story. Once you have a central idea, start brainstorming scene locations and plot events. Outline a scene where his family discovers the transformation. Proceed this way from your central idea.

Feel free to take detours from your outline. Forming an idea of who the main actors of your novel will be before you even start is one way to create momentum. For each character you want to star in your novel, write a detailed backstory. It will purely help you see each of your characters as real and three-dimensional. If you need help getting started with character outlines, the Now Novel process includes a character creation tool consisting of a series of helpful prompts.

Sometimes, you might have an amazing idea for the climax of a story, which you plan to work up to. So start with that instead. Find a starting point that makes you want to sit down to write each day.

Even if you write your book in disjointed fragments now, you can reorder sections or write connecting passages between important scenes later.

Famous writers champion the virtue of reading when asked for advice by aspiring authors. Take notes on how the writer makes dialogue interesting, and compare character and setting descriptions. How does the writer start each chapter?Her seven-step system is a great way to take your work from nothing to publication and you can read about it in her book if you missed the boot camp.

According to DIY MFAa novel's story structure is comprised of three acts and two decision points that allow your protagonist to determine how the story plays out from those two points.

One segment of the boot camp that I found particularly helpful was her section on "Muddling Through the Middle"—that is, keeping up your pacing, action and story while you're writing Act Two of your next great novel. It's a particularly tough area in which many novelists get stuck writing, either because they're not sure how to flesh out the middle or because they've simply reached a lull in the action. This can derail your productivity—or your NaNoWriMo attempt—unless you work through it. As Pereira writes:.

Instead, look under the hood and tease apart the power struggle or conflict that drives your story. Therefore, I've selected some of Pereira's tips from her book and the boot camp for ensuring that the middle of your novel is just as engaging as the climax, and that you won't get stuck writing it. One particular area for development is the depth of the supporting cast. You love your protagonist, and the overall story arc focuses on her, but Act Two is a great area to flesh out the characters who help her along or hinder her on her journey, as well as any potential subplots they're involved in.

In Pride and Prejudice we meet Wickham and the militia, as well as Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine, and Georgiana Darcy. And for an additional example:. The works of William Shakespeare are filled with surrogate supporting characters. Just as the Fool tells King Lear the things he does not want to hear, so, too, does Cordelia when she speaks the difficult truth to her father.

How to start writing a novel if stuck: 8 steps

The rule of three is everywhere—in stories, books, movies, TV shows, parables, advertisements, and anywhere else you find even the briefest narrative structure. Three bears, three trials, three inconceivable kidnappers, three wise kings, three tips in this article. Why is the number three so common?

stuck writing my novel

Three is just the right balance. It sets up a pattern but allows room for a twist in the third repetition. The rule of three can be added to your own story in myriad ways: Your protagonist can meet three new minor characters, or endure three challenges, or go on three dates with three potential lovers.

The hero may fail in the first two, or all, of these instances—perhaps learning valuable lessons along the way, of course—but eventually she'll succeed. In most cases, that is. A clever writer can subvert this trope in interesting and creative ways. Collins, Mr.Ideas and the business of writing them down is not a linear practice.

The rest takes time to ripen. Find a good quote about the subject you are writing about. Who is the speaker behind the quote? Are there any articles posted online about this person? Book reviews? How might what they have to say about one thing relate to another thing in an entirely unexpected way?

Some ideas need to simmer. In the meantime, write something else. Creativity is a weird visitor click to tweet. Let it do its job. This one applies to fiction writing.

Having trouble making a character believable? Invent a backstory and write it down. Need help asking the right questions? Go to one of those free online dating sites and look at the questions they ask of people when creating a dating profile.

Fill it in. After all, you totally know this guy now. Some ideas are just not ready for primetime. Some are just crappy ideas. A good way to test yours is to turn them inside out. Write a short piece arguing the opposing point of view. One of my business lines is speechwriting. Learn more about the business of being creative.

Clowns to the Left, Jokers to the Right: What to Do When You're Stuck in the Middle of Your Novel

Join CreativeBoost and get exclusive tips on how you can grow your audience through the power of writing that sells. Patrick Gant owns thinkit creative, specializing in writing for the web and digital marketing. You should join his newsletter today. Keep writing.She put together a custom-made tour for us based on all my wishes (I'm very demanding) and then gave me lots of ideas and suggestions as well.

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