Don’t you find sometimes life gets in the way of writing? Perhaps you have guests due to arrive and you have to clear the spare bedroom. Or maybe that family holiday you booked way back, is now imminent when you are so close to completing your manuscript—or worse still, your publisher is waiting for your final review to be returned before going to print. I have experienced these “obstructions” and many more. But then we got a puppy and I understood what a real obstruction was.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Pepper to bits and am so glad she came to live with us last October. But, as many of you will know, raising a puppy is hard work and very time consuming. My writing was put on hold, together with most other things which were not dog related.
By January I was determined to start writing again. It was a struggle and I needed a push. When I came across 12 Top Tips by Sue Moorcroft of The Romantic Novelists Association, I found some inspiration. Sue has kindly agreed to let me share those tips with you.
# 1. Plan? Don’t Plan?
Don’t be afraid to try either. You never know what will work for you when you’re stuck.
# 2. Think of Your Page as a Stage
Your characters are the actors. Keep them interacting with each other and give them dialogue.
# 3. Struggling with a character?
Discuss her/him with a friend. Personality traits and motivation will often become clear.
# 4. Replace bland verbs with vivid verbs
Instead of walk use trudge, march, hurry etc. to capture your character’s mood.
# 5. I can’t write if…
Have faith in yourself that you can. It’s just that sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard.
# 6. Sagging middle to your story arc?
Prop it up with incidents, lies, secrets, accidents, a new character, deepening conflict, surprises or twists.
# 7. Setting can be a conflict in itself.
Has your character’s car broken down? Place her on a lonely moor in a snow storm. No phone signal. No one to help.
# 8. Keep your story going.
Give your characters goals, missions, and, above all, conflict. Make them resolve those conflicts themselves.
# 9. Dialogue isn’t just the words the characters say.
The words are just part of a scene that includes action, thoughts and a dash of description.
# 10. If you’ve edited your story so many times that you’re sick of it…
Change the font for the final read through. It wakes your brain up.
# 11. Understand which character holds the viewpoint.
See what they see, hear what they hear, know what they know and feel what they feel.
# 12. Enjoy your research.
Make your characters do things YOU fancy trying—a balloon flight, a dance class, a visit to a new country. Have fun!
I hope these tips might get you out of a hole, add sparkle to your writing, or simply be useful to remember. My thanks go to Sue.
I would add one more – when “life” gets in the way of your writing, step back and create a new schedule of when to write, and the word count you hope to achieve. Be realistic about the timeframe to complete your manuscript. Most of all? Don’t stop writing, or you’ll lose more than just a bit of yourself.
Share any great tips with us here.