Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Staying Focused on the Story

Even though I'm not officially participating in NaNoWriMo, I've been inspired by the many of you who are (including my crit buddy Christina Farley). So I've decided it's time I buckled down and got some serious writing done on my latest project.

One of the things that keeps me focused while I'm writing is to think about what I want the overall tone or feeling of the book to be. Is it a quiet, thoughtful book? Something scary? A funny, entertaining story? A gripping adventure? Thinking about the overall impression I want to make with my story helps me make choices about what I need to show the reader (and what can be summed up in a line or two).

What helps you stay focused on the story when you're writing?


  1. Sometimes I'll post a sticky note by my computer with a reminder of theme, or what the main character's internal arc is. That helps me stay on track!

  2. I've been thinking a lot about that as well. Sometimes I find I have to try things out to see what works before I pick a tone.

  3. I cling to the fact getting to the end, no matter how I do it or what I end up with, is a win all by itself. Must finish. Can be very gruelling sometimes when things aren't going smoothly.

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

  4. Something that helps me is outlining chapters after the second or third draft, writing out what's the purpose and goal of each chapter, what it needs to fill out or what's there that shouldn't be. The story's everything!

  5. I've got lots of photos to inspire me. My story is set in the catacombs of Palermo, Sicily. A real place with over 8000 mummies. If that doesn't set a mood, I don't know what will!


  6. Paying some kind of attention to the character and her current emotional state every day. COntinuity keeps me from being derailed from the action plot and the emotional plot.

  7. Ooh, such a great variety of responses here! I hope you enjoy thinking about different ways to stay focused as much as I do.

    Cheryl, I like your sticky idea. I have stickies as part of the desktop, and I love them (real stickys fall off and get lost on my desk, especially after the kids have been using my computer).

    KarenG, the more books I write, the more detailed my plan or outline becomes. It's just too hard to fix a novel that has structural issues, I find.

    Wow! What a cool setting, Debbie. Your project already intrigues me, just from the setting.

    Marcia, I think the emotions are so important,
    because they are what keeps me connected to the story when I'm reading.

  8. I think I do the same thing too. Try to focus on the overall feeling of the story.

    I didn't know that Christina was one of your CPs. She's so sweet. Love her. :)

  9. Post It Note with most important things jotted down!

  10. I usually have my book flap description in view-reminds of where I am writing to and who it's for...


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