Writing Tip #55

Connect the dots. I’m at that lovely point in writing my second novel where I’m about a third of the way in, and now it’s time to get serious. I don’t know about you, but when I start writing a book, I have a general idea in my mind of how things will go — I know my beginning and I know my end, but the middle is just this gray, nebulous area, almost like dots in a connect-the-dots children’s activity page. I see all kinds of scenes unfolding, but there’s no real sense of how they fit together yet.

Now it’s time to connect those dots, which I think is one of the most difficult parts of the process. Lots of decisions need to be made. Lots of cutting and pasting and re-pasting until I figure out what’s what. In the past, this is the part where I would become discouraged and probably start another novel, telling myself that I would one day return to this one, which I never do. It’s easy to start a novel — extremely hard to finish one. So I always think of this part of the book, the middle, as separating, as Len Goodman might say on Dancing with the Stars, the contenders from the pretenders.

To get myself through, what I tend to do, besides lots of pacing, is write the hell out of those dots that I do see in that middle section and give myself some choices to come out of each dot or scene — I can do this, this or this — and then I often find the passageway to that next dot will suddenly become clear, almost like a fog lifting and unveiling the right road to take.

Just gotta push through. And stay focused.

Hang in there!

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3 thoughts on “Writing Tip #55

  1. I’m with you Dina, the middle is my puzzle board that I try to piece together. When I’ve got a hole to fill, and none of the writing pieces seem to fit, I take pen to paper as well. It’s my equivalent of looking around on the floor, searching for that rogue piece that went missing. When I find it, it’s a lovely moment :-) Keep writing!

  2. I know exactly what you mean — took me a long time with my current WIP draft to move my head from 1/3 done to all done… but once I was able to connect the dots, the writing was the easiest part. Of course now the editing is back to the hardest part! :) Hang in there!

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