Inspiration is… not here.

Ahh, it’s been a big week. Not a bad week, mind you. Just a long one. And through it all, I’ve found a missing piece of the writing puzzle: Inspiration.

Now, I try not to rely on inspiration too much, but ultimately it is required to come up with ideas. The problem I have is that in every book I write, I get to a point where I think to myself something along the lines of “what now?”

Okay, so I have all the plot points planned out. I know what’s going to happen, but it’s a matter of how it happens. I might know everything about what needs to happen and how it has to happen, but ultimately when you’re finally writing that scene, it can be a lot harder than you thought. What would the character say or think at this precise moment? Maybe you thought it would work in the plan, but when actually writing the scene it just… doesn’t.

But there’s one thing that I regard as the worst possible thing that can happen when writing a book. I get bored. Why is this so bad? Because if I’m bored just writing a scene, then who in the world is going to want to read it? Certainly not me. I hate reading boring bits in books. And that is why I hate writing them. So, what should we do about that?

Well, my answer is to not write boring things. This week, I took a step back from the book I’m meant to be writing, and just wrote whatever I felt like instead. The result is a finished prologue and first chapter of another book. So really, it was quite productive, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to achieve. Step two will be to go back to the original manuscript (you know, the one I’m meant to be writing) and see if I can work out why I’m bored. Finally, I shall have to find a way to make it interesting again.

As a side note, I once wrote a book (well, half the book. Then my computer died and I had to start again. Which is why none of you know about this book. Yet.) in which it was perfectly acceptable to just kill a character off when things got boring. It was sad but kind of fun as well, in a really dark way. Every time I got bored I just thought to myself, ‘now, should we kill someone? Who should we kill?’ I must say, it certainly kept things interesting.

Unfortunately that won’t work for my current situation, so I’ll have to find another way of making things interesting. That’s where inspiration comes back in, because now I need ideas on how to make that happen. Preferably without just killing a character off. This isn’t meant to be a book where half the characters die.

So, here’s my plan of attack for whenever I get bored or stuck.

  1. Take a break. Go have a cup of tea or something.
  2. Come back and see if things are working out.
  3. Things aren’t working? Take a long break. Write something different. Forget about it for a while.
  4. Been long enough? Okay, come back to the manuscript. Read through it and see if you can pinpoint where you got bored.
  5. Found it? Good. Why is it boring? For me, it’s usually because there hasn’t been enough story progress or action. So what can we do to make it less boring.
  6. I usually like to find a new plot point to stick in here. It could be major, or minor, as long as it’s interesting.
  7. Write the thing.
  8. Better? If no, repeat the process until you get it right.

So far, this has worked pretty well for me. I’ve never actually had to repeat the process. However, every book is a new project, so it might be that I have to do it differently this time around. I’m finishing up with step 3 after the weekend is over, so we’ll have to see.

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