First draft writing is a blast. For me, it’s usually full steam ahead, word count racking up, while I’m in a cloud of creative bliss. Except, for those moments when there’s a the screech of brakes and I’m staring at the screen pecking out a word here, a word there, back spacing more than entering.
It’s the flag on the play for me. Time to stop and back track. How did I get into this dead corner?
This situation is not only a first draft problem, it is second, third draft problem. Any time in early editing where wrinkles in the plot are still being ironed out (as opposed to improving sentence structure, filling in emotion, description, nourishing a solid story).
The cause for me is typically related to trying to connect scenes, going from point A to point B and getting lost in the process.
For example, my two main characters, Maisey and Tyler have just been taken against their will (again) and have been locked in a basement rec room. I’ve been languishing over their time stuck in this place trying to build a sense of impending doom but also taking the opportunity to have them bond, reflect on the previous events and put them in position for the next big scene. When the red flag was thrown, i.e. I couldn’t get in the flow and pretty much hate everything I’ve managed to type, I took the necessary steps. Cut right to the chase, a few sentences that build suspense, a few of Maisey and Tyler maybe about to have a moment, then boom, right into the next crisis. What a relief to get past that road block. I just need to trust, that action and drama trump prose that starts to feel like characters are living normal, pain free lives. Honestly, “Kill Words” is not a literary novel. It’s commercial fiction with I hope some depth that raises it above silly, entertainment. It needs to keep moving along and weave intensity around the action which is a skill of its own.
So here’s the point of this post, if your story seems stuck between scenes, or there’s a ‘dead’ scene loaded with character interaction and what may seem as essential scaffolding to the next scene, consider cutting it all out. Connect from A to B directly. Try it. See how the story reads (recommend putting it aside for a few days). If you’re excited again about what’s happening and unstopped the plug, write on!