Tuesday, November 17, 2015

NaNo 15: Sticking Past the Middle

Heather Sellers, in her book Chapter after Chapter, talks about a phenomenon that often assails me as I get into the sticky middle of my current book.  She calls it the "sexy new book" lure.  Maybe you're feeling that lure.  It's like the seven-year itch for writers.  And getting through it requires the same things that getting through the "sexy new" lures that might arise seven years into a relationship: commitment and fun. 

You're here, you've got the commitment part down.
And if you read Charlaine Harris' Pep Talk then you may have some idea as to how to inject a little fun, Post-It Notes, anyone?

This year, I've been using two other tools that have helped me keep going even when the going gets rough: Story Cubes and Fiction Magic.  What these tools have in common is that they ask me to think of new ways to see what happens next.  I like that I have these tools, but you don't really need them.  

Instead, you can think of your favorite book or character and play the "What would Sookie do?" or "What would Dresden do game?" Or, even better, "What would Harris do?" or "What would Butcher do?"  

What do your favorite characters do and what do your favorite writers do just when things start to seem too predictable?  

Does the character get into a situation where what she values is in conflict with what she needs to do to save the day?

Does your writer up the tension with a plot twist?

How does your favorite writer up the ante for the character you love?

How does your favorite character get herself in trouble and back out again?

The answers to these questions will help you find the way to the next 1,667 words.  

This year, the mug I'm using has a quote on it from Cheryl Strayed "Be brave enough to break your own heart."  I do that by putting my character into terrible situations that I'm not sure she can get out of.  And then it's easy to write the next 1,667 words.  

Keep writing.  Even 500 more words is 500 more words than your story had before you sat down to write.  

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