6 Tips for Continuing your Novel

One of the main problems I’ve been running into when writing my novel is staying motivated enough to write it. Here are a few things that I do to keep me interested.

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1. Re-read the beginning: When I get stuck far enough into the novel, there is a good chance that I’ve forgotten the minute details that I had written in to the beginning. Re-reading it from the beginning is a great way for me to remember some things that I had intended to address and maybe hadn’t gotten to and things that I need to remember to keep in (forgotten swords anywhere? or bags?). Also, there tend to be small hints that I write in for the future that I forget about; things that I foreshadowed then completely forgot about or even unintentional foreshadowing that I catch after re-reading. With the new insight you gain from writing forward and knowing what is coming next, sometimes you can see what will happen next if you had been stuck previously.

This doesn’t work for some authors who, when they read the beginning, get stuck so be cautious of what kind of writer you are.

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2. Beta (or Alpha) Readers: Try to find people who are willing to read your work and be honest about what they think or how they feel about it and can talk out the plot with you. For me, talking out plot holes and plotting problems is a sure way to find the solution. Seeing things from someone else’s perspective is a great way to see if you are doing what you’re attempting to do and if you are successful at it or not. If you are having problems, it could be that your story itself is having problems and another set of eyes and another creative brain that you trust is one way to get through it.

It is important to note again, that for some authors this method does not work and having others read incomplete work can put a halt in their writing. Another note is to have someone whose opinion you trust read your work. If the person is too nice, you’ll get nowhere because all they’ll have are positives, and if they are too harsh they might discourage you from continuing. Another author is a good choice because they’ll understand what you’re going through, but critical readers from your target audience are also good.

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3. Work on a different piece: With longer pieces like novels, sometimes your creativity can stagnate when faced with the same world days on end. A great way to remedy this is to work on a different piece. A short piece or another long piece can break you out of the monotony of working on the same project and when you go back to it, fresher, you may see things a little differently from before.

This doesn’t work for some because immersing oneself in a world may be how you write. If this is the case, please do your best to soldier on because the most important thing is to finish the novel.

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4. Write a spin off from a different POV: If you need to stay in the same world, consider writing a short piece from a different point of view. Stories can stagnate when the author realizes that the story is being told by the wrong person, not necessarily that the plot or the world needs to change, but just the point of view. It can also give you insight into the main character’s journey by forcing you to think of the same situations from a different perspective or may give your side characters more dimension by forcing you to think about their perspective.

No caveats here. You should probably try this if you’re stuck.

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5. Find art, music, or movies that make you think of your piece or genre: Search keywords that are in or are similar to your piece and find art of any kind that inspires you to immerse yourself in your words. Some places that I like to go are tumblr, where you can search a keyword (like fantasy drawings) and get an unending list of tagged content. Go to the library and borrow some books that make you want to write or go to the museum and look at different culture’s art. Do something outdoors, or indoors that is different from what you would normally do. The idea is to find things that inspire you to write.

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6. Take a break: This is a last resort, but it is a viable option. Take a break. You’ve been hammering away at this story for a long time, sometimes you need to take a step back and let it rest. Try not to do this until the novel has been finished, but if you’re completely stuck, take a break and come back to your story; it’ll still be there waiting for you when you’re ready to go back to it and the story is in your bones, you know it front and back, all you have to do is finish it.

In conclusion, finish your novel. (Cheri.)

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