Writing a novel – a writer’s journal part 13 More about momentum

More on Momentum

I read recently about a good idea for keeping up the momentum of writing a novel. I have no idea where I read or heard this idea. I got it from somewhere. I could have dreamed it up too. I’m not sure. Like all writers, teachers, children, bower birds and other obsessive compulsive collectors, I gather/borrow/steal/commandeer ideas and words and concepts from everywhere. Nothing is off limits. On-one is exempt. None is too sacred.

The writer/speaker was suggesting that it is a good idea to stop each day’s writing in the middle of a scene. Or even in the middle of a sentence. Then the next morning when you sit down to start writing you have somewhere to start. That’s brilliant.

I’ve been trying it for a few days and it seems to work. It also seems to suit my style of writing too. Sure, it’s nice to finish a chapter, close down the computer and go off to peaceful sleep for the night in the knowledge that that part of the novel has been put to bed. The problem I find is that too often I don’t get to the end of a chapter when tiredness takes over, or family responsibilities mean I have to leave off writing and do something else. Coming back to a half finished scene or an incomplete sentence gives me a running jump into the writing again. I finish the scene or sentence and we are away.

Good writing.

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2 Responses to “Writing a novel – a writer’s journal part 13 More about momentum”

  1. Ken Rolph says:

    What happens when you come back in the morning to resume your half completed work and can’t remember what you were going to write next? That’s happened to me on more than one occasion.

  2. Trevor says:

    That’s where plotting ahead (with fiction) comes into play. If you have a strong sense of where the story is heading there is not a problem. Just like reading a book you pick up the thread immediately. That’s what I’m finding anyway.
    Non-fiction is similar, except that you don’t have a plot, but rather a plan of where the article or chapter is heading. When writing essays, for example, I usually start with an outline and get more and more specific as I plan, inserting quotes where appropriate. Once the plan is in place, the essay/article should almost write itself – providing you’ve done your research, background reading – AND understand the topic. Usually works for me.
    My approach to blogging is a little different. When I was blogging full time I would often plan on the run. The topic I choose will suggest the content and I think carefully about having a strong, arresting opening. On blogs it has been proved that you usually have 5-15 seconds to grab the reader’s attention before ‘click’ – they’re gone. Then I would plan as I write – often rewriting as I go. Sounds a little chaotic but it’s a style that works for me. Again, background research was often essential before writing even one word.