There is nothing more exciting than the moment when an idea invades your brain. Characters, settings, and scenes for that next story appear out of nowhere, or come in dreams, or when you’re sitting at a stoplight. (Why are those people honking at me?)
So what do you do? You jot down a few notes and start writing. Right? 30,000 words later, you’re stuck in the middle of the novel. Burnt out. You can’t find your way to the end. That doesn’t mean you don’t know how your story is supposed to end. You just can’t figure out how to get there.
I found myself in this predicament at the 40,000 word mark of a sci fi novel I started writing more years ago than you’d want to know. The manuscript got shoved aside for more than 3 years until I re-read it and decided I was ready to tackle it. Sort of… Rather than do a detailed outline of the second half of the book, I wrote out the dialogue – essentially it is in script format with minimal description at the opening of each scene. I found my way to the story’s end (but it’s still half novel/half script).
I know that as a serious writer I should be setting daily word count goals. Ugh. I can’t do it. At least I haven’t tried it yet. I certainly don’t want my next novel to be 3 years in the writing. All right. Resolved: I will set word count goals when I begin work on novel #2 (see previous paragraph), which I’ll be diving into after I complete the revisions for my debut novel.
Have you found yourself stuck? What did you do to escape? And speaking of revisions, how does ‘revising’ fit into that word count?
This post was inspired by some very useful advice from Kristen Lamb.
Image credit: Stoplight leaves by bwright923, CC-BY-NC-ND