Saturday, September 19, 2009

Five Ways to Finish Writing a Book (NOT!)

Okay. When it comes procrastination, distraction, and outright writer's block--I am THE QUEEN these days! I used to be speedy, writing a chapter a day was not unusual. So, what happened?

I decided to do what I do best: analyze the situation. First, I will state that I plan to leave real life or RL as writers like to call it, out of the equation. RL will always be there. RL can be very bad, but of course, the absence of RL is not a good thing either. So, we'll leave that out of things.

I've come up with the top five things I find put the kybosh on the timely completion of a book.

1. Sit down every day and repeatedly rewrite the first paragraph of your story. At some point, one must at least move on to paragraph two if one is ever to complete a 400 page novel. It's tough, I know, but at some point you just have to move on with the story even if it isn't perfect.

2. Continually change major plot points in the book. (This is after one has managed to move beyond paragraph one, natch). If you change a major plot point in a book, this has a domino effect, and you will condemn yourself to rewrites throughout the book to insure continuity of plot. I'm not saying not to make a change if necessary. But changing things 14 times will definitely slow your progress and is probably more indicative of a writer's fear of finishing a book, and their basic insecurity, than any real failing in said poor blameless plot point.

3. Fear finishing your book because, what if you finally finish it and it totally sucks? This is an easy one. Maybe your book will suck. Maybe it won't. But it won't matter either way if you never finish the darned thing.

4. Write 30 stories and get about 2/3 of the way through each and "get stuck." This is bad. You now have valuable inventory stuck on your hard drive that you cannot market because it is not complete. This is a business. We are in sales and we must MOVE THE FREIGHT or we will not make any money. Why does this happen? It can happen for any number of reasons. It could be flaws within the story, but if you've got 30 of them, it's probably an author issue. Shiny object syndrome is one aspect. "Oh, look! A new story idea!" We must finish what we start. By all means, make notes on new ideas, but don't dive in and immerse yourself in new characters and new worlds before finishing the old stories. I can tell you the result of this is that an author wastes valuable time each day trying to decide which story to work on and trying to remember what the characters, world, and story line are. Not the most efficient way to do business.

5. Manage writing time poorly. We all must spend some time promoting, networking, researching for stories, researching the market, publishers, agents, searching for reviews, etc. DO NOT let this suck up all your writing time. We must do these things. We like to do these things, but write FIRST.

So, get out there and finish the blasted book! ;-) *I am looking in the mirror as I say this, of course.*

What factors keep you from completing a book? If you never have difficulty with this, please share your secret! LOL

Happy Writing!


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