Category Archives: wip

>10 Reasons to Finish That Lousy WIP!

>We all run into those pesky stories or novels that will not cooperate and go smoothly as ordered! But just when you’ve had it and swear you’re not writing another word, you do. But why? Dead Locked has been the mother of all difficult projects in my book. But I’ve pushed on and will push on until it’s done. And here are 10 reasons why I keep going and why you should too.

  1. You have put far too many hours into it already to give up.
  2. You love the characters and can’t leave them hanging.
  3. The story keeps pulling you back.
  4. Any story worth telling requires work.
  5. If you gave up every time you hit a wall, you’d never finish a single project.
  6. People want to read your story!
  7. Every finished novel is another step toward your goals.
  8. You become a better writer with every story you finish.
  9. You’ll never forgive yourself for giving up.
  10. You’ve made it this far. Keep going!

What reasons do you repeat to yourself when a project makes you want to throw your writing tools in the air and quit?

>How Important Are Emotional Connections With Characters?

>Along with so many other layers to a novel, giving your characters a strong emotional draw is so important. I’m working on adding more into my WIP so my readers will have a stronger personal connection to my characters. Thinking back to books I’ve read, some lacked emotional pull though strong in other areas and lost me, while other books may have lacked in other departments but had such strong emotional angles that I couldn’t stop reading.

When it comes to the former, A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander instantly comes to mind. I loved the premise, loved the setting, but could not for the life of me care a lick about the main characters! I actually felt more for the minor characters Jeremy and Cecile than the protagonist and her boyfriend (whose names I’ve now forgotten). I regret that because the plot was intriguing and fairly well-executed. But I’ve never felt a desire to read more of the series.

As to the latter, I think the Kathryn Swinbrooke mysteries by C.L. Grace are a good example. Not the best writing ever or even necessarily the best mysteries, though the plots were always interesting. But I still devoured the series because I wanted to know what happened to Kathryn and Colum (and had to know if they ever got together). I still recommend those books, if you’re fortunate and find them in your library or buy them used, because the main characters are delightful. And I was invested in their story beginning to end.

To some extent, I feel like creating an emotional connection between reader and character is more important than technical execution. It’s all important, of course, but I’m quicker to forgive an author for some technical issues if I’m emotionally invested in the characters. I’ll read on just to find out what happens to them, regardless of the plot or actual writing. Maybe that’s just me, but the more I pay attention to what readers say, it’s hitting me how important it is to infuse heart into your stories instead of just technical know-how.

What novel(s) would you cite as a great example for emotional investment? What book(s) failed in that department despite other things that were right? And, to top it off, how do you feel about the importance of emotional connections and characters?

>Fun Writing-Related Activities

>Do you find it hard to stay focused on your WIP during the summer months? I certainly do. This summer has been crazy so far and I’ve accepted the fact that I will need a little extra discipline to not let everything slide. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break. In fact, summer can be a good time to do some different activities related to writing and reading. Here are a few things I came up with:

  • Go to a writing or book festival
  • Visit the home of a famous author in your area or vacation destination
  • Write out-of-doors at the beach or park for instance
  • Plan a trip to the setting of a favorite book
  • Do some hands-on research by traveling or visiting settings from your WIP (take photos!)
  • Try an activity one of your characters loves (if it’s not your thing already)
  • Take on some physical challenges to refresh your mind and gear it up for writing later

What are your suggestions?

>Reignite the Love of Your WIP

>A new idea can be like crushing on someone. You’re all excited and can’t wait to round every bend in the journey. Then the initial thrill fades. Eventually, you may get to a point where it feels like just work. You’re trudging through page after page, but the excitement you had at first is completely gone.

I had this experience with Dead Locked. For a time, I lost all interest and considered moving on to another project. As you can probably tell, I managed to not only get back on track, but get that first rush of excitement all over again. What can you do if a project feels like it’s sapping the life out of you?

Take a short break to get perspective. Sometimes even a day or two away can reignite your desire to finish. I regularly walk away for a short time (emphasis on short) to refresh my creativity and see things in a new light. Word of caution: don’t walk away for too long or you may not go back to it!

Reevaluate the direction of the story. If you don’t like where the story is going, or you feel like you’re shoving a square peg into a round hole, you won’t want to write. I had this problem with my current novel. Somewhere in the process, I lost track of what I like and went off on a tangent I didn’t feel passionate about. Stick to ideas that you love, and you won’t lose motivation.

Get an objective opinion. I got pretty discouraged at one point when my book seemed to be spiraling downwards and I ended up just telling my sister everything I felt about it. Her outsider insight jolted me awake to the problem. Don’t be afraid to confide in someone if you feel down about how things are going. They may say something that sparks new desire to push forward.

The important thing is that you don’t give up on your story. You’ve worked too hard to throw it away!

Have you had this experience with a story? What did you do to keep moving forward? How did you get excited about the project again?