Get out of your own way, don’t think and type at the same time. Just let the story flow. You can only do one thing at a time efficiently. Don’t try to force the story onto the page THINKING. What should I put here? What goes next? That should be done in your pre-writing for those of you who aren’t pantsers, but even if you are, it really does help.
Write an outline on your current page and keep it four lines below what you are writing so you can keep it in sight. Delete each plot point once you reach it. Example:
- A lone dusty desperado wanders into the town of Kinkade trying to escape his past
- A posse hot on his trail. He decides to take a breather at the local saloon
- He sits down for a drink at the bar but before he can order one of the regulars recognizes him from the wanted posters around town
- The bartender see’s him getting up, looks at the stranger and a gun fight breaks out in the saloon.
You can add as much or as little detail as you want just get it down so you have a starting point and you know where you want to go with the scene now.
When you think before you write you’re actually causing your writing block. Clear your head, do meditation, go for a walk, or watch a sunset. I personally do meditation when I’m trying to figure stuff out and clear myself but that’s just me. Whatever helps you clear the cobwebs. Another trick I have found to help is if you know exactly how you want three-fourths of the chapter to go but are banging your head against the wall because you just can’t think of the rest. Skip that scene and move to the next one you know. I might have a scene where my main character is trying to heal someone and can’t think of the process for that scene. I would write (KIRA HEALS TALYN HERE HOW DOES SHE GO ABOUT DOING THIS.) Sometimes I might change the color of the note to red so it pops off the page more but usually using bold works for me.
Then go to the next scene and write the rest of your chapter. Sometimes I come up with an idea for it while I’m writing the rest of the scene. The other option is to turn off your computer and take five to thirty minutes to brainstorm. Write out how you want the scene to proceed and start from there. Ask yourself what your characters are trying to accomplish in this scene.
Just a quick note on revision: Once you finish your first draft, take two weeks to a month off from your novel and come back to it with fresh eyes. I think most people are very methodical and try to get their revisions perfect when they revise. Some people break it into segments by point of view, line editing, etc . . . . I have heard of others who do fast pass revisions. Skimming over their manuscript, catching whatever they can and doing this until it’s polished. Remember, Literary Agents and Acquisition Editors are looking for polished not perfect.
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