Pink Heart Society columnist Jill Kemerer is talking about strategies she uses to get the words flowing when stuck in a scene.
Since it's the beginning of November, writers all over the world are giddy with excitement. NaNoWriMo is here, and I'm cheering you all on! At some point this month, though, you might get stuck.
Happens to me all the time.
The words trickle to a slow drip until I have no idea what to write next. I find ways to avoid my manuscript. Cleaning, baking, rolling quarters, sifting through clothes to donate--all take top priority in my life when I'm stuck in a scene.
But who has time to lose? We can't meet our goals if we spend all our time procrastinating instead of writing. Here are strategies to use when you're stuck in a scene.
1. Keep a notebook nearby and jot down the basic things that need to happen in the scene. Who are the characters? Where are they? What happened in the previous scene that needs to be dealt with in this one? What does the POV character want? Why does she want it? Why can't she have it?
2. Brainstorm with yourself via voice memo or video. For some reason, hearing myself work through a plot issue unlocks my brain faster than just thinking about a problem. Simply delete the video or voice memo when you've tackled the scene.
3. Are you sure the direction you're taking in this scene is the right one? Play around with it. Try writing it in a different POV or setting it in a different place.
4. Review the previous two chapters. Did anything pop out that you need to deal with to move the story forward?
5. Sometimes doubt paralyzes us. Remind yourself this isn't a life or death situation. If you write a so-so scene, you can always fix it later.
6. Do NOT let more than 3 days pass without writing. Returning to the manuscript will feel too overwhelming. Keep chipping away at it one day at a time.
7. Take fifteen minutes to read a blog post about writing or a section of a writing craft novel. I get motivated by other writers.
8. Set a timer for 30 minutes and write. Don't overthink it--just write. Chances are you'll unblock whatever was holding up your thought process.
I love trying new tricks to push through a murky scene. I purchased a book last year that really helped me increase my word count as well as embrace my love of writing. 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron is only $0.99 (USA) on Kindle, and it's a quick, easy read. It's packed full of inspiration and tips.
How do you find your writing groove when you're stuck in a scene? Share your tips!
Jill Kemerer's new Love Inspired, YULETIDE REDEMPTION, is available for preorder and will be in stores November 22, 2016! Order it from AMAZON or go to JillKemerer.com for more purchase links!
A Mother's Christmas Wish
After an accident leaves Celeste Monroe to raise her baby nephew, all she wants is to provide one-year-old Parker with a happy life. She hopes taking a job caring for injured Sam Sheffield will help fulfill that goal. But Sam's determination to avoid the world throws a wrench in her plans. Despite his best efforts, Sam can't take his eyes off the pretty caretaker. Her strength and her loving nature has him falling for her—and her baby. But he refuses to burden them with a man who's not whole. Can Celeste convince Sam he's daddy—and husband—material in time for them to celebrate Christmas together?
Jill Kemerer writes Christian romance novels with love, humor and faith for Harlequin Love Inspired. Jill loves coffee, M&Ms, fluffy animals, magazines and her hilarious family. Visit her website, jillkemerer.com, and connect with Jill on Facebook, Twitter and sign up for her Newsletter.