Monday, September 8, 2008

Is your Writing Stale?

As writers we are big on ideas but we can sometimes be small on execution. This is because we start to grow tired of a story before we get to the end. Many of you know the term "sagging middle". This describes the idea that the story starts to run out of steam shortly before the climatic final scene(s).

Another way it can start to get boring is going through endless edits. Believe me, I know what this can be like. I have a book that has been reworked 6 times. This same manuscript has been sent to a professional editor twice.

And still I edit on it. But I'm almost there. :-)

So how do you spice up your writing?

I've done three things to really get past staleness in my writing. I talked about the writing exercise I do in a previous post. You can see that post here.

Second, I go through the "Writing the Breakout Novel" book and workbook on each manuscript both in prewriting phase and after the first draft is done. I find by doing this twice I'm able to relax as I write that first draft. I know that I'll catch it in rewrites and the 'sagging middle' will get cleaned up as well. Both of these books are on my suggested reading list which you can find here. They have a link to Amazon where you can order yourself a copy.

The third thing I do is ask "But Why?" I actually learned this last year at a writer's conference. I was in a class on writing suspense and I gave the premise of my story and a bit about my main character. The writer teaching the class kept asking me "but why?".

I was very proud of myself because I was able to answer the first two "but why" questions. Then we got to the third, fourth and fifth. Suddenly I realized that I hadn't gone deep enough in to my story to really pull out the motivation of the characters...and my writing suffered because of it.

So if you're working on rewrites, first drafts, sagging middles or even a polish-take these steps to strengthen your writing.

Next time we'll look at ways to strengthen your Marketing.

Your Coach for the Journey!!

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