This month, find inspiration in other people’s words. Pick a debut novel in your genre and read a few pages before you start your daily writing session. You’ll gain insight into how other published authors are breaking out and hopefully discover something new to motivate you with your own project. Bonus: you’ll have guilt-free pleasure reading time and have read a new book by the end of the month.
Do you write a draft straight through from beginning to end, or do you prefer to stop at specific points to evaluate and cleanup your draft before going on?
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.