I had a conversation with a friend the other night. Someone who also wants to write. Well, does write, she just hasn’t finished anything. I sympathize. There are times when, no matter how hard you try, the action in your story just comes to a screeching halt. I’m actually at that point in my current project. Seriously, if I’ve managed a paragraph in the last month, it’s probably an exaggeration. It’s true I’ve been stretching myself thin here in Bloglandia, with the collaborative work I’m writing with Fictional Kevin and my other weekly features. Nevertheless, I need to move forward with the next book in my novel series. But I’m stuck… Sound familiar?
When I’ve struggled like this in the past, I’ve found a way to get through it. Ready for some brilliant advice? Write nonsense. Yep. Even if it totally sucks, doesn’t move your plot along, bogs your characters down… you get the idea, you’re still writing. And sometimes that’s all we can do – keep going. So for example, describe your character’s grocery list, have them watch TV, make tea and read their own books. Maybe have them engage in mundane household activities or meet one of the other characters for lunch. Sound like a waste of time? Trust me it’s not. It’ll get you to the next ‘thing’ and you can go back and delete all the filler. And delete, you must!
Unless this unexpected foray into tea making, housekeeping or lunch having has become somehow integral to the plot, you have to cut it out of there. Even if it’s some of the most beautiful writing (you think) you’ve ever done. The exception here might be the lunch with another character, where possibly their conversation over soup and salad may reveal important plot points or details. Otherwise, you are just wasting the reader’s time.
But not your time, you see. You’ve moved forward. You have kept writing. And that is what writers do!