Let’s say you are writing a novel or something shorter such as a novella. As you’re writing chapter 20, you forget about some details you wrote in chapter 3 or maybe 4. Because you forgot what was in chapters 3 or 4, the information you write in chapter 20 about the same details may be contradictive. Maybe this is happening in different places throughout your book (these are called plot holes or inconsistencies). There are three ways you can fix this.
- Keep track of the information in each chapter on note cards and keep them handy as you write.
- Don’t worry about fixing them until you finish your first draft, then go back to the beginning and read each chapter, keeping track of the details as you go by writing little notes in the side margins on what information needs to be fixed. Then fix them.
- Have another person in addition to yourself read your first draft to look for these issues.
If you don’t fix plot holes, your readers will end up not being very happy with you. You want to make sure the read for them smooth. You don’t want them to have to stop and wonder.
How we/you write is how you write. Not everyone is going to like your style, because, as you know, everyone is different. That’s ok. Write in your style anyway. Someone might even give you a low scoring review because of it. That’s ok, because it invokes curiosity and will entice readers to buy/read your book. That’swhat you want. So, embrace the negative. From it can come the positive.
What keeps you motivated to continue writing? There are many motivators, but what I am focusing on at the moment are your fans. I don’t merely mean readers. I mean true blue, unadulterated fans. Those individuals who love your work. They love it so much they will come back for more. They throw complements at you telling you they LOVE your stories and to PLEASE write more. They chomp at the bit waiting.
What this does is feed your mind and continues to sprinkle a positive light on it. We all love complements, don’t we? So use this to make your writing better. And as you’re writing, you’ll be focused on how can I make this even better?
In a nutshell, your fans keep you on your toes, and they make you a better writer.
How often do we try to gain the attention of others? Quite often I presume, and we gain their attention in various ways. If you are writing something, whether it be a short story, poem, or a novel, you must gain the attention of your audience early in the story. By early, I mean first page or two. It doesn’t have to be main premise of your whole story yet, but it does have to grab.
One way to do this is to create a question in the reader’s mind.
Example: A light glowed as Jack approached the hallway to the left. He stopped and poked his head around the corner. There a small box glowed in the middle of a chalk drawn circle.
This example creates various questions, such as:
- Why is the box glowing?
- What’s in the box?
- How did it get there?
- What does the circle mean?
- Why is it the middle of a circle? What does that represent?
So, all kinds of questions come from this one small sentence. That’s what you want. This would certainly keep me reading/turning the page.
If you want a career in writing, you have to write everyday. But, as a writer and author myself, do I write everyday? Well, yes and no. When I am not writing, I am working on my story. Some of that non-writing time is spent thinking about my story, such as:
- The plot– Where do I want the current scene to go? What complications can I throw into the mix to create a hardship for my characters?
- Characters– How can I make them stand out better? What emotions should they be feeling in the current scene? Are there any other physical characteristics they need to be given?
- How can I fix a plot hole I inadvertently created?
- Setting– Maybe there is another setting I need to create, or maybe I need to work on a current one and make it stand out more.
- Maybe I hit a brick wall, and I am having difficulties moving forward with the story. At this point I would need to examine my story structure. I say this because usually when this happens its because the right scene is in the wrong place in the story. Example: a scene I wrote in Act II should be in Act I. (Seriously, it happens).
While I am thinking of any of the above items, I am doing something else that helps to clear my head of irrelevant stuff and focus more on the story. For an article about clearing your head activities, see Never at a Loss for Words published June 10, 2022.
You don’t want writing to become boring, though. Keep it interesting. Take yourself on a field trip somewhere that can add flavor to your setting. Are you writing a murder mystery that takes place in a small coastal town not far from where you live? Go there, take notes. You know stuff like that.
If you love to write, keep doing it.
I’ve written about writer’s block in previous posts, but I’m going to address it again in this one. I don’t really believe in writer’s block. There have been times when I didn’t know what to write about, but that just meant I needed to reach inside my “box” of creative tools and “pound out” something I’ve never touched on before. Seriously, do we ever get to a point where we’ve tried to write about everything to a point where there is nothing else to say/write about? No. There’s always something to write about. We just need to find it.
If your mind needs some time to regroup, do that. Let it take the time to relax. Do something else nonwriterly. Put a jigsaw puzzle together, go to the beach, go hiking, or anything else that will clear your mind. Who knows, during that time away from your writing, something will pop into your head and you’ll be off and writing.
So, you sit down to your computer to do some writing and find you lost focus. Maybe you didn’t have it when you sat down but thought you did. AHHHH. What can you do to regain it? Spoiler alert, that happened to me just now when I sat down to write. Hence the topic for this post (Laughing at myself). Alas, I regained my focus. After all, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be typing his article. What did I do to rectify the situation and get ‘in the mood’, so to speak? There was a piece of information I needed to obtain from my previous novel, so I could use it for my current novel I’m writing. So, I opened my previous novel, The Triunix of Time, and found what I was looking for. I read the few pages needed. Yes, doing this settled my mind down, and I was off and typing. There are some other things one can do to focus and settle your brain down other than what I did. A list is given below.
- Meditation— Close your eyes, breath deep, and clear your mind. Then allow your writing to enter your brain and take up residence.
- Soft Music— Put on some soft music. It can be instrumental, or maybe your prefer love songs. Choose what you like best. Then zero your mind in on your writing.
- Sounds of Nature— I absolutely LOVE the sound of the ocean. I don’t live on the coast, but I can bring it close by going to YouTube and playing sounds of the ocean. Talk about relaxing.
- Go for a Walk— I usually do this when I am having trouble dreaming up what’s to come next in the book I’m currently writing. The fresh air helps. That, and most importantly, I use that time to talk to Jesus and tell him what’s on my mind. I bounce ideas for my story off Him. It gives me peace.
Maybe there are other things you do or others do that aren’t listed here. It’s up to you to use whatever method works best for you.
Here is a list of the top software of 2022 for writing a novel:
The one I use is Scrivener, but any of these are good. The following link talks about each of the above four all in one place. That way, if you need one of them, you can better make that decision about which to use.
Draft one of your story is like tarnish on your good silverware or your jewelry. There are parts of it that are discolored, or in the case of your story, make no sense, or is in need of more information. Your grammar and spelling may need to be cleaned up as well. That’s what the first draft is: a mess that needs to be fixed. But, hey, you have it down on paper (in an electronic document) right? Right. That’s what counts.
Once you get that first draft done, that’s when it’s time to clean the “tarnish” off and polish it up. So, you go back to the beginning of your story and start reading through it, all the while making notations of changes you might want to make. When that’s done, go back to the beginning once more and make those changes you noted.
Keep going over and over your story like that until it’s the way you want it. Make sure everything makes sense. Lastly, you want to check grammar and spelling and word redundancies. When that’s done, you will have a finely polished story that will shine its brightest.
Not everything you do when writing is going to work out the first time around. I think you know this already, but sometimes we can still get discouraged and still need reminding. There are times when something in your daily life can bring you down. It can affect your writing whether you might think so or not. For some people it won’t, but not everyone is the same. Let it add to your writing instead of distract you.
- So how can you use that negative situation to strengthen your writing? Use it. Jot down how you’re feeling, then later, when you’re writing a scene that calls for those emotions, you can refer to your notes.
- Take a deep breath, relax, and focus on your story. When your mind tries to veer back to the problem that’s bothering you. Refocus on your story and take another deep breath.
- Surround yourself with someone who will uplift you. Talk to them about how your feeling. You’d be surprised the good this can do. Then your getting it out of your system.
- At times we get discouraged about our writing. Don’t get yourself down about that. Look at your previous writings that brought in a lot of praise. What did others like about it? Focus on that.