I have been wanting to start this series for a while now and something always comes up to push it back to another time. However, I feel that now is the time to embrace my Beating Writers Block Series which outlines my favourite and most useful tips to get over the dreaded block. The reason why I did this now was because I found that people on Instagram have been struggling with moving forward with their stories and I feel for them. We have all been there. But I have found that most writers have a common problem and that is lack of forethought.
Planning is one of the best things you can do for your writing. If you do not, you are causing so much more stress and heart ache than you need to. Being an organised writer has its positives and I cannot recommend it enough, but if you are not one then I insist you give it ago. For those who do not know what an organised writer is it is when an author plots and outlines their novel. I was never like this, I would just let the writing take me where it wanted to go and that was never far, which lead to many books being started and left unfinished. Does this sound familiar? Once I decided to become an organised writer by outlining, plotting and properly structuring my novel (among other things) my writing transformed and developed quicker than I had ever thought.
How to plan your scenes
- You do not need to plan many scenes in advance of what you are currently writing. All you have to do is when you finish the scene you are on and are about to move onto the next one, get out your ideas journal and plot out the your characters next move.
- Sit and think about how you want the action to progress. If you cannot figure out the first part of the chapter or scene, start jotting down the part you can visualise and progress from that. You will often find that once you start writing the points down you will figure out the logistics in the end.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect and in detailed, all it needs is a list of bullet points outlining the main action that will happen from beginning to the end of the scene. You will feel better knowing what is going on, but at the same time you are not restricting yourself to preassigned dialogue and the bullet points are flexible enough to allow your mind free reign to fill in the gaps.
- Make sure you have a title on each page and tab the first page. This way your scene will not get lost in your notebook and you will have easy access to it when writing.
How this helps
- By noting down your ideas you will know where your story is going and you will not have to keep stopping in order figure out what comes next.
- You will be motivated to start writing the scene as you are excited to discover how the action you have outlined unfolds.
- You will be motivated to continue writing as you plan and see before you how the consequences of that scene as it plays out in the next one.
- It will also help you better understand your characters motivations and feelings, as you have the benefit of hindsight.
- It helps you eliminate unnecessary scenes or parts to a chapter. It also prevents you from putting in unnecessary action that detracts or does not add to the story.
- The worst thing you could do is waste time writing a scene which you will most likely cut out anyway. By planning, you are thinking about what needs to happen and you prevent this from occurring.
You should use this technique even if you are not the outlining type of person. I know a lot of writers who have never made an outline in their lives but have started to use this technique after I mentioned it. They have said that it helps them a lot and I know I would not get by without it.
Please let me know what you think of this technique and if you will start using it for your own writing! If you do, please let me know how it went! I would love to see how/if I am helping you with your writing.