Monday, April 6, 2009

Getting back to the story

As authors we have so many different things we need to do. We need to be marketers, writers, business people...not to mention our personal lives. Today I want to talk a bit about getting back to the story.

What do I mean by that?

I'm talking about what we do when we've spent a great deal of time working on the business side of our business and not as much on the actual creative writing. I find that I go in cycles where I'll write a few thousand words a week, then I can go a week or two without working on my fiction. During that time I've written articles, countless blogs, emails, content for clients and proposals for projects...but not fiction.

So how to we get back in to that mode?

I've heard a few different tips that have worked for me with varying degrees of success. See what helps you get back in to your story. I do have ONE word of caution-try to resist the urge to do too much editing!! I find that many times, especially if I choose the first option, that many times I'll end up spending so much time editing what I've done that I get no meaningful writing done. Avoid this temptation.

1. Reread the previous scene to see where you were in the story and get a feel for the character voices.
2. Look through your outline and notes you've made.
3. Listen to a few of the songs that are "theme music" for either the character or the manuscript. I tend to listen to 80s love ballads [Air Supply, Journey] when I'm working on the romantic elements of a story. I listen to 80s/90s metal when I'm working on intense scenes or the bad guy. When I'm working on tying up the loose ends of a story in the concluding chapters I love to listen to Natalie Grant and Nicole Nordeman.
4. Spend the 24 hours leading up to the writing playing scenes from your story in your mind. Let the characters chat with each other. Imagine them in various predicaments and see how you can make them WORSE...then how they can escape.
5. Think about a great book you read recently and try to think of ONE thing that really impacted you.
6. Read the opening of 5-6 books [or chapter openings of a few books] and see what it was about the verbiage that grabbed you.

Maybe you have other things that help-share them with us. If not, use some of these. I usually use each of these at various stages of each book. They help me get focused on the creativity needed to have great craft.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.

1 comment:

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Tiffany -

What do you do when you're done with the basic writing and HAVE to edit? How do you get motivated to re-work your manuscript for the umpteenth time?