What to Write When You Are Stuck
If you are anything like me, you’ll have written your main plot, all of the way through. You may or may not have worked on some subplots, but you’re having a hard time pushing through this week, but do not give up. Think of your novel like a piece of art work. The first thing any artist does is make a sketch. The work that you did in the first week was that sketch. It was probably easy and fun. But, like a three dimensional painting, the sketch is only the beginning. After an artist does a sketch the artist works on the background and that would be a good place to start working at this time. So get out your palette of word colors and let’s get started.
Start Writing Dialogue
At this point I have my basic plot as well as the main character sketches done. I have added action to scenes and described how I want my readers to view my characters. It is at this time that I start working on dialogue and creating interplay between characters. The first dialogue that I like to write are arguments between the lead characters. The arguments don’t have to be about anything important, but they do help in creating conflict. These arguments don’t have to be between the protagonist (good guy) and the antagonist (bad guy) either. Start an argument between two minor characters over anything. These arguments might not be important elements of the story, but they do help develop a story depth.
Another part of the background is the scene descriptions. I use several methods to create scene descriptions. One of them is to visualize being in the characters’ location. If it is a room, I picture the room in my head. I first go through the scene and do a panoramic description of the room. I note where everyone is standing, what they are wearing and what they are doing. I don’t worry that the scene seems wooden. I don’t worry about clichés. I just write what I see. Next I go back through the same scene and write down what I hear. Is there a bird chirping outside the window? Is one of the characters clearing his throat? Is one of the characters tapping his hand on a desk nervously. Are children in the next room arguing over what to watch on television? (Of course, this wouldn’t be in one of my books set in the 1700s but you get the idea.) Go through and do this with the other three senses of smell, taste, and touch. If you want, do this using each of your characters as the point of view character. Yes, you’ll be limiting your POV in the finished book, but you don’t need to do that now. Just write however you need to write it.
Using Photographs to Help with Descriptions
Another way that I develop the scene description is that I use is to fine a photo that could describe a scene and write what I see. I like to imagine the scene and describe what happened before and after the photo was taken. I imagine who is seeing the scene and why they are looking at it. If it is a pleasant scene, is the character’s mood congruent with that pastoral scene or is the character’s emotional state in stark contrast? If so, why? If you can, get inside the character’s head and discover the significance of that setting and the character’s mood.
Donna Brown is the pastor of Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.. Under her pseudonym, Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .