Tip when you're stuck: Work Backwards

This tip only works if you know what is going to happen at some point later in your book. So if you are a purist pantser, it might not work for you.

I've been stuck on my novel for the better part of a week. Maybe even two weeks (though I don't count last week because I was sick with the flu for most of it and slept a lot and watched almost all the episodes of Firefly).

I polled the Facebook community on what should happen next (gave them multiple choice options). Doing that alone helped me push through the start of the tough spot, but I came to another stuck point.

So you know what I did?

I hit enter a few times and typed in: "Stuff happens here" and kept writing as if that stuff had happened.

I worked backwards. You see, I KNOW what happens after this section I'm stuck on (this is the part in my freewrite summary where I stopped and hit enter a few times then started again "later". Kind of an "insert cool stuff here").

Once I got the creative juices flowing, I went back to the "Stuff" section and wrote a few lines about what could happen there. Then I kept working backwards.

Here's an example.

I'm nearing the end of my book, by the way... so Marietta is back in her home land, she's in the hospital. Right before that she jumped into a well in the alternate world she's been in through the whole book. Right before that, she led the evil Prince to the well and when he was distracted with lowering the bucket to bring water up at Marietta's suggestion, she jumped in. Right before that, they were both looking into the well and she saw it glow, but the evil Prince did not.

It might not work for everyone, but I got 1500 words in 45 minutes out of the deal, so give it a shot next time you're stuck!

By the way, I haven't forgotten about writing about the conference. I still haven't looked over my crazy notes. But I will get to it soon!

Keep Writing,

Claire L. Fishback


What tips do you use to get unstuck in your writing?


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