Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Key-Word Cavalry: Help writing my first book.

So... when I saw that phrase among my key phrases, I was stumped.

Where would I begin to explain how to finish someone's first book? After all, everyone's writing method is a little different.

But I will not be scared off by this. No. I'm made out of sterner stuff.

The first bit of advice I can give you is this:

Get THIS muse.
Failing that, the best thing I can tell you to do is something that you might really get tired of hearing:

Keep writing.

If your story sucks and you find it isn't worth your time, leave it alone and start something else. But don't do that forever. At some point, something will be worth your time and when the going gets tough, you have to keep going.

All the way.

For as long as it takes.

Then... I strongly suggest that you play around until you find a method that works for you. Feel like plotting kills your story's soul, try pantsing. Think that waiting for your muse sucks, try enticing her/him with cookies. Whatever works. As long as you write. Except in limited circumstances, procrastination is never a good idea.

But if you block, and writing through it doesn't work, leave your project alone until the doldrums go away. If they don't, go back to your writing desk and write nonsense until they do.

For the love of all that is holy, DON'T write to trends. Trends change before you can publish. And if you're writing without passion, you won't produce anything good enough to change the trends back again.

Finally: Never be afraid to explore an idea, even if you think it's small or stupid. Because that idea might just be the right one that stirs enough passion for you to want to stick through the story.

What does it take for you to finish your story?


  1. Positive feedback definitely helps. Sometimes it's the only thing that keeps me going.

  2. These are my rules to writing which are more or less a a summary of your advice here :). I find them helpful whether you are finishing your first manuscript or your fifth.

    1) Write
    2) Read
    3) Write
    4) Don't give up
    5) Write
    6) Love what you do
    7) Write

    But that demanding muse does come in handy and awful lot :)

  3. Like Patti said, positive feedback really helps. But barring that, I do the ole butt-in-the-chair writing for 15 minutes. If I only get two sentences done, fine. But for me, the longer I go without writing, the harder it is to finish something.

  4. It takes all that I have, and all that I am to finish a story. I'm exhausted for a week after, but in a good way.

  5. Hot Tamales work even better than cookies for me!
    Yeah, just keep writing. Go back to an earlier point in the story and figure out why you were excited in the first place. That might be enough motivation to finish.

  6. I love this: For the love of all that is holy, DON'T write to trends. Too many writers get sucked into this. But, it is hard, if not almost impossible, to be the one who starts the trend.
    Motivation: Time is running out.

  7. love that pic! lol.
    And yes, for me it takes grim determination to finish a novel.

  8. I need that muse! Finishing can be hard, but I love the feeling of being finished so much that I keep pushing through to get there. I spent so long writing only short fiction, that writing a novel feels like forever sometimes, but I just keep going. That's about all you can do. Great post!

  9. The best way to finish a story is to arm yourself with a glass of bourbon and a cigar.

  10. Chocolate helps, dark chocolate. Yum. But yes, writing, writing and writing some more really helps when it comes to pushing til the end.

  11. I need the dude with the gun in your picture. I think that's the only way I'm gonna finish mine!

  12. Great advice. I'll just say that the gun in my muse's hand is a big, black Glock.

  13. I love to write childrens books so I could draw cute little pictures all day if I could. No motivation necessary :)

  14. I've always found this little mantra to be quite useful: BICHOK. Butt In Chair. Hand On Keyboard.
    Yup. Sometimes you just gotta make yourself do it. Once you force yourself to sit down, open up the document you were working on yesterday (or whenever), read over the past few lines/paragraphs, it's really not that hard. Usually!

  15. Um, that should be Hands plural. 'Cos obviously it's better to type with two hands than one!


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