In today’s Journal
* I’m on the road today
* Topic: Just Write the Scene
* Of Interest
* The daily diary and the rest
I’m on the road today, and actually tomorrow, though I’ve pre-posted a topic for tomorrow to give you something to look at. (grin) The “live” Journal will return on Monday, August 12, in the usual format. For now, I hope you’ll enjoy this blast from the past from my post archives at HarveyStanbrough.com.
Topic: Just Write the Scene
Some time back, I posted that if you’re writing and you get bogged down, you should just write the next sentence, then write the next sentence, and so on. Soon you’ll be back in the flow of your story and you can forge ahead. There’s one proviso—that “next sentence” should come directly from your subconscious (creative) mind. In other words, you shouldn’t force it and think about it and make it read just so. You should literally JUST write the next logical sentence.
Well, sometimes when I get stuck, my fingers are poised on the keyboard, all ready to write the next sentence and— the next sentence doesn’t come. Oh crap! What now?
Sometimes you aren’t stuck. Sometimes you’re in the wrong place. Sometimes you’re trying to make something happen (conscious, critical mind) that isn’t part of the story. Remember, the real story is coming out of your subconscious mind, your creative mind.
A few days ago (as I write this) I found myself in exactly that situation. I had written a long (over 1800 words) but very terse opening scene. At the end of that scene, I tried to write a transition and then another scene. (“Tried” is the operative word here. When you “try,” that’s your critical mind. Ugh.)
Nothing doing. There was no next sentence.
So I sat back for a moment, released all the conscious, critical mind “try” stuff that I was attempting to force on the story. Then I leaned forward, put my fingers on the keyboard, and wrote the first thing that came to mind.
The beginning of a new scene sprang onto the page. When I felt I might bog down again, I just wrote the next sentence, wrote the next sentence. This time it worked fine. I was back in sync, allowing my subconscious creative mind to tell the story it wanted to tell. My fingers barely stopped moving for another 1892 words. Then they slammed to a stop.
Can’t fool me twice, at least not in the same story. I got up, moved around, got a glass of water and came back to the story. I put my fingers on the keyboard, wrote the first thing that came to mind, and again a new scene opening flew across the page. Yep, just like that. This scene was only 581 words. This time I already knew what the next scene would be, so I added a section divider (for me that’s a series of three centered, spaced asterisks) and started the next scene: that one isn’t finished yet, and it’s just under 1,000 words.
I probably will finish this story a little later today (again, as I write this post, October 23, 2014). First historical western I’ve written since I was a kid. These days my primary interest is in writing psychological suspense (like horror, but no slash and gash). My secondary is science fiction. My third is magic realism. Historical westerns aren’t anywhere on my list of priorities, but this is the story that wanted to be written, so this is the story I’m writing. Cool, eh?
So here’s some advice: When you get stuck in your writing, Let Go and just write the next sentence. If it won’t come, write the next scene:
- To begin a scene, write whatever comes.
- To get through the scene, write the next sentence, then write the next sentence, then write the next sentence. Don’t think about where it’s all going or even about the second or third sentence. Just write the next sentence.
- When you’re writing a scene, don’t worry about how it connects to other scenes. Just focus on that scene.
- When the scene ends, write whatever comes for the next scene (or for another scene), then write the next sentence, etc.
- Your character(s) will lead you to where you need to be.
Hope this helps.
The Daily Diary will return on Monday, August 12.
See “Trademark for Fiction Writers… Chapter Two” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/trademark-for-fiction-writers-chapter-two/.
See “I Am Dyslexic” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/i-am-dyslexic/. READ THIS. There’s a huge bonus at the end.
See “Our Brains Tell Stories so We Can Live” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/our-brains-tell-stories-so-we-can-live/.
I don’t very often recommend writing craft books by traditionally published authors. But if you want to learn a unique way to write five or six novels per year, check out The Tinkerbell Effect by Deborah LeBlanc. Deborah is a traditionally published author who has had remarkable success even as others fell by the wayside.
Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 720 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 720
Writing of Blackwell Ops 7: Glen Marco (novel)
Day 1…… 3222 words. Total words to date…… 3222
Day 2…… 1170 words. Total words to date…… 4392
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 4392
Total fiction words for the year………… 363129
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10450
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 227520
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 591649
Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 194
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31