Starting (Or Restarting) a New Writing Project

Photo by David Paul Ohmer.
  1. Know your genre. Are you writing a romance, or a mystery or women’s fiction? Maybe a thriller? There are certain conventions for each one that it behooves you to know. And beyond that, knowing these conventions can help you when you’re trying to figure out the steps of the story. In a romance, for instance, the hero and heroine have to meet. (Duh.) But that’s one of your most important scenes, right there! All you have to do is figure out the details.
  2. Do some free writing. I know, I know, I told you not to jump right onto the page. But free writing is different. It is writing about your project, brainstorming on the page. I could not write anything without this process. I write morning pages just about every day, and often they are devoted to figuring out the intricacies of whatever I’m working on.
  3. Expand your input. Try some alternative approaches. For instance, I’m reading a fabulous book called The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide for an Inspired Life. It is all geared toward using tarot cards for your creativity, i.e. your next writing project. Author Jessa Crispin has designed spreads for finding inspiration, checking your direction, being blocked, and all kinds of things. Fun! And helpful. You might also try looking up your character’s birth date on an astrological chart for more insight, or research your setting on Google images or Google earth.
  4. Use the power of lists. I can’t live without my lists, and I use them voraciously with my WIPs. Often my plot outline is a simple list of upcoming scenes, but that’s enough to guide me. I make lists for what’s going to happen in a chapter or scene to clarify before I start writing. And I make lists of things to remember. Constantly. There are a lot of moving parts to a novel.

Novelist, writing teacher, coach. Workshops in France, Portland, and virtually. Sign up for weekly love letters and get a free Ebook:

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