Reading a recent post on first drafts by author LJ Sellers had me glad that I was on the right track, at least in some ways.
Writing is individual, of course, and everyone has their own method. Stories or books, I tend to do the same thing. I admit it; I'm an outliner.
Yes, not everyone's cup of tea. But once the idea comes, I like to write it out. I put down all the main events and can fill in the rest as I write. For a book, I outline chapter by chapter so I know where to go next. Things do change as you write, and things are added or deleted as needed.
2. Make a Plot Chart
I outline keeping a chart in mind that another writer had told me about - Make a chart of 5 boxes across with 5 rows. Keep turning points in mind for the 5th box (chapter 5), the 10th and especially the 15th. Initially I use the box method, then I write out the action and plot points per chapter and print it out.
3. Revise later
One thing I can't seem to do. A bad habit - I tend to go back and go over things. This is a rewrite, of sorts. I catch mistakes, change things, but it can halt your progress, too. A better idea: reread the last few graphs to get you back in the story and continue.
Resist rereading and revising until the end of the next chapter. (Even better, don't reread until you write The End if you are that disciplined. I confess, I'm not.)
4. Get Organized
LJ offers a good suggestion about making a character database. Good idea. I have things written in my outline and have them in mind since I'm still working on the book. Bad idea to trust my faulty memory. I'll have to work on this once the book is done since I won't recall everything later. A character chart will help in keeping everything straight for future stories.
5. Keep the flow going
It can be hard to pick up where you left off when you are writing a few days, then stopping and going back (hence the rereading habit). The outline helps keep me on track and writing even a few hundred words keeps me going. (Better than zero words).
What usually works better is to make a writing goal of a certain amount of words per day. Relocating to another area, like the library or coffee shop might help. A schedule change can help spur a better word count since time then has to be used more productively. Of course, some days it doesn't work. Sometimes writing out of sequence - getting parts down for a future chapter can help. You can always flesh it out later. And yes, sometimes it's best just to go write something else for awhile.
** Share your writing style. How do you keep focused? Do you outline? How do you keep going on a book or story?
Book & Writer Blogs
- ACME Authors
- Author of Doomed Queens
- Betty Webb
- Blog Book Tour Guide
- Blogs That Rule
- Blood Red Pencil - Writing, Editing Tips
- Book Roast
- Book Views, Lacresha Hayes
- Books at Pop Syndicate
- Celebrate Women
- Chester Campbell
- Christina Rodriguez, Ilustrator
- Christina Rodriquez artist
- Crispin Guest - Jeri Westerson, Medieval Noir
- Cynthia's Attic - Mary Cunningham
- Elysabeth's Stories
- Fatal Foodies - Food & Mysteries
- Female Sleuths
- Getting Medieval - Jeri Westerson
- Helen Ginger - Straight from Hel
- It's a Mystery
- JA Konrath
- JR Turner - Dead Friends Forever
- Katie Hines
- Killer Hobbies
- Lacresha Hayes - author, pastor, wisdom on women's issues
- Larry Karp
- Marlis Day
- Mary Welk
- Morgan Mandel
- My Friend Amy's Blog
- Mysterious People
- Mystery Scene Magazine
- Page 69 Test
- Page 99 Test
- Pets & Their Authors - Mayra Calvani
- The Stiletto Gang
- Women of Mystery, Terrie Farley Moran