Once again, super fast because I’m about to get on the road to Easton, PA, for this year’s YAFest! I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately — both for the next book after To Bear An Iron Key and for my MFA project — and I’ve been planning ahead far more than ever. I’ve previously blogged about the joy of outlining. I have to stress just how helpful this has been for me, now that I’m juggling more than one writing project. I have a complete chapter outline for the book after Key, and I have what screenplay writers might call a Beat Sheet for my MFA project, in which I’ve hit 15 major points that must happen in that book — forming a very rough outline. While the chapter outline has almost everything spelled out, the Beat Sheet allows for a ton of flexibility. Very, very happy about this new skill of imagining the finished story before writing it.
And one quick tip, then I’m really out of here: If you haven’t figured out what writer’s block means for you, do so. I think it means something different for every writer. For me, when the words just stop after I’ve written a sentence, that tends to mean I’ve taken the story in the wrong direction and I need to backtrack, try something different. Like with the MFA project: I was stalled for a day until I decided to scrap the current chapter and try something else — and that moved me forward five pages (until I ran out of time today). So if the words have stopped, TRY SOMETHING ELSE. Change the POV character. Start the scene elsewhere. Skip ahead. Backtrack. Take a shower and imagine how the scene should flow. And then put fingers to the keyboard and write.
Hope to see you in PA!