So you’ve been writing your novel for Nanowrimo and you’ve been chugging along, churning out words every day. Maybe you fell behind a few times, but you always caught up over the weekend because the story was right there at the tip of your brain, within your grasp, you could taste it!
But then, it happened. Week three has hit, the ideas you were riding high on have turned into fumes, and your little writing vehicle is puttering to a stop.
What do you do!
I hit that point yesterday. I’m not far behind yet, but I hit my wall. My plot stagnated. Now, I’m a planner so I have the general idea of where I want the story to go, but I didn’t know how to get it there.
Or did I?
Enter Writer-Woman, my super alter ego who has no problem jumping a plot from one point in time when nothing’s happening to the next action scene. She knocks out the logic driven, inner editor saying we must make a smooth transition with a roundhouse kick and jump starts the story.
Works for me.
So what is it I do here? I really just end the scene, go into the next chapter with something to clue the reader into where and when we are now like, ‘Thursday I went back to the office, normal working woman to the casual observer, except for me checking my phone every two minutes like a junkie waiting for a text from her dealer,’ and then have whatever it is happen.
That’s it. If nothing’s happening, skip it! If you’re bored writing it, your readers will be bored reading it. Why waste either’s time? My characters went through an accident, did a little magic to start solving the puzzle, and got to relax. Once they were relaxing, it was time for a jump. I didn’t have to say they finally got a full night’s sleep and went back to work and yada, yada, yada. I just had to end it with relaxed, and go into the next chapter where that relaxed was not allowed to last.
So, if you’re Nanoing your heart out, bleeding onto your laptop, and you run out of blood, you probably have hit a slow point you don’t want to be writing. Skip it. Readers are smart, they don’t need you to spell out every mundane detail that gets you to the next scene. Really, skip it. It’ll be okay. Your inner editor will forgive you knocking her out as long as you wake her with some chocolate and coffee.
What if you’re a pantster and you have no plan, and you don’t know where to go from here? Blow something up! Oh come on, it’s fun. Maybe just do a blow up metaphorically. In the romance, the hero’s ex shows up wanting him back at the worst possible time; in a mystery, somebody else shows up murdered; in a fantasy, magic does something unexpected and just plain weird. I set my book in my current city and I blew up an apartment building I don’t like. The bad guys attack, the woman goes into labor, the friend betrays the hero but thinks they’re doing the right thing, someone disappears. Whatever fits and gives your pants the kick they need, do it.
If there’s a writer’s crisis going on, transfer that into your writing and take it out on your characters by making them go through a crisis.
In short, blow something up.
Happy Nanoing 🙂