The author fretted about the gaps in her story. “I can’t figure out what happens next, and at the end.”
She didn’t say it out loud, but that’s what she was thinking. And that’s why everyone around her saw a pensive, unhappy writer walking in circles.
But maybe she didn’t need to fill the gaps. Maybe she had enough in her notes and outlines, but was not trusting the material.
Or maybe she was just stuck. It happens.
Cozy Mystery Novelist w/ Story Writing tips
The wonderful cozy mystery novelist and excellent teacher Linda Palmer (a/k/a Melinda Wells), often advised UCLA Extension students to skip ahead if they felt stuck. She reminded everyone that there is no rule that says authors absolutely must write their books, blogs and articles from beginning to end, from Page 1 to Page 260.
Linda’s idea appealed to me because sometimes in our search for something that we believe is missing, we over-write and waste time. When you at least write the scenes and chapters, paragraphs and dialogue, that you believe belong in the work, you may discover that those big gaps in story have shrunk.
Writing Resources: Story Creation is a 'mental game'
But how could the gaps have shrunk? It’s a mental game. Too often we see the holes in the story, or the imperfections, and do not realize we have done plenty of good work. Also, maybe it is time to simplify and boil down the theme or story elements to the essentials. If I can’t move forward, often it is because I have too possibilities spinning in my head. That’s when I say, “Dude, just choose one!”
Jumping ahead provides another advantage. As you proceed with your story it is nice to know you have chapters down the road waiting for you.
Dear Startup Author, you may fear that skipping through your outline will only result in a mess. Things don’t seem to fit together. That’s a possibility, and yet that’s why we value revision so much.
On the other hand, if you insist on staying with the chronology of your outline are you imposing a uniformity that is dull?
There is not one answer. But, then, who likes to sit around feeling stumped? We want to move forward on our projects.
Tips & Strategies for Story Writing