If a scene isn’t coming together, try using a bulleted list to help you work through it. Include character action, introspection and motivation, as well as interactions with other characters or your setting. Focus on creating a step-by-step list of how one thing leads to the next. Don’t worry about writing complete sentences at this stage of the process. The goal here is to figure out the sequence of events and how your character reacts to or is affected by those events. Once you have a solid list of things to highlight in the scene, work through those bullet points by turning them into prose.
Category Archives: Practical Prompts
This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving – a day when families gather together and carry on long-held traditions. As you work on your manuscript, decide how family traditions, or the lack of them, will shape each of your characters.
If you’re struggling to keep your story on track during a first draft or a revision, take a moment to write down the one thing–the feel, or theme or idea–that most inspired you to write that particular story in the first place. That’s the heart of your story. It’s the thing you most want people to carry away with them after they finish reading your story and the plumb line in every scene. By putting it into words, you’ll have a clearer idea of what choices your characters will need to make and what actions they’ll need to take in each scene to remain true to the heart of your story.
The more writers can put themselves into the shoes of the people populating their stories, the more authentic the characters will be to the reader. This week, try writing a scene from a POV other than your protagonist’s. Even if your novel is going to be single POV, the exercise will deepen your understanding of the supporting cast in your story, which will translate into more rounded and believable characters on the page.
When you attend a writing conference, workshop or book fair pay attention to how the established authors talk about their books. Note how they engage the audience. Do they tell you the story, how they wrote the story or a combination of both? Does the tone of their presentations match the genres of their novels? How do they project their voices and use body language to draw the audience in? Then, apply what you learned and decide how to best connect to your audience.