Write in present. Don’t look too far ahead in your book. Here’s an excerpt from my guest post at Romance University where I explore this subject.
The story that you write is usually something that means a lot to you. You put in your time and invest emotions in it to create it. It is your passion. For people who work on one project, it’s the main subject dominating their thoughts during that time. They might even eat, drink and sleep their work in progress, so to speak. Are you like that with your work? Yes? Then read on to find out what you’re doing wrong.
While we are engaged mentally and emotionally with our wip, we sometimes tend to get too close to it. We miss the development and evolvement of the story. You might argue that the development is in your hands as a writer. True, but in every story, the growth also depends on the characters. A major part of what makes the plot move forward is how your character reacts to obstacles. We can’t go on and impose just any storyline on the characters. When we do, it starts to feel wrong. Our hands falter at the keyboard. Writing becomes wooden. We might even develop a fear of writing. This can lead to a block which progresses to an extent when we can’t even think of working on the project.
Why did this happen? Let’s see.
When you begin a project, you are excited and poised at the brink of new discovery. At that time, you couldn’t stop thinking of it. The first chapter is written and it feels like a miraculous accomplishment. You go on to plan what would happen in the second one as you close the laptop and push back the chair. As you wander out of the room and reminded by the grumbling of your stomach, you set to conjure lunch, you’re still mulling on it. In plotting the third chapter, you hit a road block when you don’t know, for instance, how H/h will meet again. But as you peel potatoes, you hit upon an idea. Why not have them stumble in the restaurant? You slice veggies and nod slowly. Yes, they both love pastry and so go to buy it at the same shop. By now, you have their conversation in your head. You’re smiling, picturing the dialogue printed in the book. A few interruptions later, you get another moment free, say, doing the ironing. Hands engaged, mind free i.e. HEMF and you get to it again. You are halfway through the story now, trying to think up the details of the black moment.
By nightfall, you have the hea or the resolution – as the case may be – wholly charted out.
Next morning you open the ms…and you can’t write a darn word.
Why… how…what? You’re not able to pin down the reason but suddenly the story that had you on your toes, seems as delicious as the lunch that you partially burnt up while thinking of it.
The thing is you lost the spirit and soul of discovery.
That’s why you should get physical with your wip.
Mental wrestling is ok when you have a difficult scene which needs minute details to be logical. But never for plotting the story.
The surprise is gone. You need the feeling of the fresh and new to keep writing.
That isn’t the only problem with thinking ahead. When you run forward mentally, you are charting out the progress of the story, keeping in mind those characters with whom you began the story. But as you write, the characters must undergo a change.
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