Tuesday, September 2, 2014

4 The Joy of Story - 5 Quick Ways to Rediscover Why You Love Your WIP

It sneaks up on you in the darkling hours of the night, or in the steamy shower, or in the mindless drone of commuting or chauffeuring a carload of kids kicking the back of your seat.

The idea. The brilliantly shiny idea that won't stop poking you and saying 'Write Me.'

You fall hard in lust. You can't sleep. You can't eat. You can't stop thinking about it.

But then.

It grinds to a screeching halt . . . Somewhere, you stall, and writing becomes a chore that makes your brain hurt. (Yes, that's actually a thing. You can overstrain your brain.)

How do you get to the point where you remember the pure, sheer joy you felt when you started on that idea?

Turn things upside down and approach your manuscript from a different direction. Here are five ways you can do just that.

1. Reconnect with Your Characters via Writing Prompts.

Some of my favorites include picking a particular character and continuing from the following beginning, with the added condition that whatever your character writes has to relate to another character.

I love when . . .
I hate when . . .
My greatest fear at this moment is . . .
My greatest hope at this moment is . . .
I would be humiliated if . . .
I could achieve my goal if . . .

2. Write the Jacket Copy

Write a kickass jacket description for the book, and if you find yourself tempted to fudge something to make it clearer, or sexier, or more exciting? Go back and write THAT story instead. Chances are, your subconscious is already fixing your story for you and all you have to do is listen.

3. Do the Meet and Greet Mashup

Picture yourself in a room with a bunch of twenty-something film execs. How do they describe your book to each other? Compulsion has been described as everything from Beautiful Creatures meets The Body Finder and Gone with the Wind meets Romeo and Juliet to In the Midnight Garden of Good and Evil meets The Sixth Sense. Thinking about what makes someone describe it that way, and thinking how else I could describe it, is not just a hoot, it's a little bit of instant brainstorming that takes my head in whole new directions.

4. Write the 1 Star Review of Your Book

Pretend you're one of the notorious Goodreads slasher/bullies. Don't think. Don't censor yourself. What things could you say that are so horrible they are funny? And once you've written them, how would you go about not just eliminating the potential for someone to say that, how would you turn that criticism into a strength?

5. Write the 5 Star Review of Your Book

Imagine you are the most enthusiastic fan on the planet. What would you write about your book? The gushiest of gushes, the ravest of raves. Give yourself ALL the pats on the back. Are you feeling the love yet? Now go write a scene that involves the thing you love most.

Figuring Out What Your Subconscious Is Trying To Tell You

The bottom line is that when you lose the joy in your manuscript, it's not because there's something wrong with you. Nor is there something irreparable going on with your manuscript. Untangling the problem is usually akin to finding the end of a skein of yarn. Once you've got that in your grip, its relatively easy to unwind the whole length and clean it up. But if you pull on it from the wrong spot, you just end up with a distorted mess.

A Happy Brain is a Creative Brain

I don't know about you, but my brain is happiest when creating. That's when I'm energized and I can't stop gushing about what I'm working on.

When I've lost the passion for a project, staring at the computer or going back over pages I've already written is rarely the best solution. I need a fresh perspective.

What about You?

Do you have techniques that have gotten you back on track when you feel like you're ready to shove that project in a drawer?

September Giveaways!

The count-down is starting. Compulsion is less than two months away, so I've got a huge giveaway planned for next month, and you can already get in on the action by going to CompulsionToRead.com.

But in the meantime . . .  : )

I've got a signed set of Veronica Rossi's complete, and completely gorgeous, Under the Never Sky trilogy, plus an ARC of Compulsion plus a Tiffany-style key necklace like Barrie wears.

Also. there are four Pick Any YA Giveaways, complete with assorted interviews, excerpts, tidbits, and one of my favorite reviews EVER.

You can find those here:
Stop by each of those blogs to enter--you'll get an extra entry for the Grand Prize giveaway below for each location you enter, too!

Good luck! : )

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Those are brilliant tips! I've used the jacket copy one before - and it's worked well for me. The 1 star review is so smart! Love it!!

  2. What a great prize package! And I love your tips for falling in love with your ms again. Thanks!

  3. I've used writing prompts before. They are very helpful, but that jacket copy idea is about the same as the query-before-finishing-the-MS that helped me before. You're right, when you find yourself adding in a bit of this and a sprinkle of that to make what you've written sound better, then it's a spectacular idea to add those nuggets into the story.

  4. Great stuff here. I look forward to trying some of these out. Thanks.


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