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.
This week, write a synopsis of your novel. Start with only three sentences, one for each act. Then, flesh out the major plot points until you get to 250 words.
This week, choose a book that has a similar feel to the story you’re working on. Read a page or two before you start writing to set the tone for the session.
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.
Don’t let the holidays stall your writing. Now is the time to test out new strategies to keep making progress on your manuscript. Try dictating into your phone when you’re away from your computer. Or, keep a notebook in your pocket while you’re shopping to capture brilliant lines before you lose them. Experiment with a few voice-to-text apps for your portable device. If you’re revising, print out a hard copy of one of the scenes you’re working on and keep it with you. Then, if you’re stuck somewhere waiting, you can use that time to edit it. By getting creative, you’ll be able to move your project forward despite your busy schedule.