If a scene isn’t working, consider whether the emotional foundation is lacking. Be bold and hit the delete button. Then, write the scene over from scratch. Starting fresh will give you a renewed perspective.
This week, analyze the pacing of your story. Consider printing out a blank calendar to keep track of your character’s actions or experiences. Select from a weekly or monthly format, depending on the time period your story encompasses. A good resource to try is print-a-calendar.com. Next, fill in the days on the calendar with details about what your characters experienced on those days. This task will hopefully give you a visual confirmation of whether your story’s pacing is realistic. It shouldn’t take four days for your character to drive to work, nor should it take four hours for two armies to prepare for battle. You can also use the calendar to pace incremental character change. By tracking the days on which your characters first meet and their subsequent interactions, you can determine whether the time frame for the changes they experience to their world views are reasonable given their personalities.
Today, consider adding more authenticity to your setting by drawing on the emotional connections you have to places. Think about where you fell in love for the first time or experienced great loss and set your story there. It doesn’t need to be the same city or state necessarily, but you can probably use features from the room where you shared your hopes and dreams with your best friend or the atmosphere in the restaurant where you got dumped for the first time. Setting your story in places from your history can make them become real on the page.
Select a point during the writing process, whether at 10,000 words, a quarter or halfway through your manuscript. When you reach that mark re-evaluate your characters motivations goals, strengths and weakness. Chances are they have changed since you started the manuscript. Make notes on what you will need to do when you’re ready to go back and revise.
This week, brainstorm the kind of music your character would like considering her personality, the time period of your story and her culture. Then, either while you’re gearing up to write or are writing, listen to the playlist.