Today I have the pleasure of Leigh K Hunt guest posting. She comes with a wand of magic dust that she is going to use to blow magic back into your manuscript.
We all have those times in a manuscript when we hit a crossroads. We may have been excited by the beginning and can’t wait to write the climax but then there is that pesky middle that we have to get through. We know we have to get through it, there is no other way to the climax. We may read over what we have written and just think it is rubbish because it is not moving fast enough.
Slowly a whirlpool starts pooling at out fingertips and we feel ourselves sucked into a vortex that threatens to overwhelm us. Leigh calls this the Middle Book Blues. Our fight or flight response kicks in. Do we give up or do we forge ahead, sword waving. So if you are at this point, Leigh is going to tell you how to fight back and refuse to give in or give up. She is going to give you some tips, from her own experience, on how to blow magic back into your manuscript.
Blowing a little MAGIC back into your Manuscript
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago – if I hit the middle of the book with nowhere to go, I would stop writing, shove that blasted manuscript in my drawer, and walk away from it forever. I would give up on it… Somehow, I could always justify it to myself. “It’s just wasn’t worth the angst,” I would say. Then I would start on the next book that I had been dreaming up.
It wasn’t until I had done this to three or four different novels that I realised something incredibly significant to me. It wasn’t writer’s block that I was suffering from. It was the Middle Book Blues.
You see… Writing the middle of the book wasn’t like writing the rest of it. It wasn’t all shiny and new like the start. I was no longer developing and getting to know my characters. I wasn’t setting the scene and spending loads of time really discovering what was going on. I wasn’t setting out on a new journey. There was no longer any of that excitement.
It’s not the end of the novel either, where you are tying up all the loose ends, everything is exciting, and you feel as though you are on a rollercoaster ride of writing adrenaline.
Nope. The middle of the book just wasn’t exciting. I felt starved of action. And in feeling starved, I lost all motivation to bother finishing it. There was just something that stopping me connecting with the book, the characters, or the storyline.
I figured it out.
My characters were too happy! Yes, they were just living their lives… happily! That is boring. There are no happy middles in good books. Happy characters and happy scenes make for some pretty boring writing and reading. And the only way I discovered that, was by actually being there. Then I would throw my manuscripts into my dusty literary drawer.
So, how do you get yourself out of the Middle Book Blues? Well. It’s simple.
Create mass destruction of your character’s lives. I am not kidding.
There is nothing quite like throwing horrific events at your character and watching them work their way out of it. When this happens, there is a huge emotional pay off for your book, your characters, the situation – but most of all – for you as the writer.
In the planning stages of the book, or at least when you get to know your character a little.
Write down five things that would be devastate your character, and make them happen.
It doesn’t have to be horrific. Not all of us write like that. An example would be if your character is a materialistic millionaire, then taking all of their money way would force some sort of drama, action, and change to that character.
Suddenly, the middle of the book becomes exciting again, and more importantly – it’s exciting to write. You learn more and more about the boundaries of your character, and your readers become more emotionally invested in your character’s plight. This in turn creates action, reaction, and commitment.
Writing your way out of the Middle Book Blues with action will turn your novel into a well-paced and riveting read. Before you know it, you’re wrapping it up, and ending it.
Remember this: There is no happiness in the middle. The only way out of the Middle Book Blues, is to write your way out. If you find yourself floundering… ask yourself,
‘What is the worst thing that I can do to my character?’ And do it.
Leigh K Hunt can be found online at:
- The Journey of a (Great) Story (cynthiaherron.wordpress.com)
- On Muses, Procrastination, and Writer’s Block (anaquana.wordpress.com)
- ‘Inspiration’ or ‘Muse’? (aplaceforwriters.wordpress.com)
- 8 Things I’ve Learned About Writing (aplaceforwriters.wordpress.com)
- Before Ever After (kikiandlalaland.wordpress.com)
It’s that time of week again: Thursday. Which means it must be time for Thursday Tips. This week this blog has been focused on creativity. Today’s tips will be no different.
How to develop your creativity?
Firstly before we work on how to develop your creativity, you need to understand creativity. What the word, the concept and the action of creativity actually are.
the use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.
imagination |iˌmajəˈnā sh ən|
the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses : she’d never been blessed with a vivid imagination.• the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful : technology gives workers the chance to use their imagination.• the part of the mind that imagines things : a girl who existed only in my imagination.ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from Latin imaginatio(n-), from the verb imaginari ‘picture to oneself,’ from imago, imagin- ‘image.’
1 a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action : they don’t think it’s a very good idea.• a concept or mental impression : our menu list will give you some idea of how interesting a low-fat diet can be.• an opinion or belief : nineteenth-century ideas about drinking.• a feeling that something is probable or possible : he had an idea that she must feel the same.
2 ( the idea) the aim or purpose : I took a job with the idea of getting some money together.
3 Philosophy (in Platonic thought) an eternally existing pattern of which individual things in any class are imperfect copies.• (in Kantian thought) a concept of pure reason, not empirically based in experience.
[ trans. ]bring (something) into existence : he created a thirty-acre lake | over 170 jobs were created.• cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s actions : divorce only created problems for children.• (of an actor) originate (a role) by playing a character for the first time.• invest (someone) with a new rank or title : he was created a baronet.
ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [form out of nothing,] used of a divine or supernatural being): from Latin creat- ‘produced,’ from the verb creare.
[ trans. ]1 form a mental image or concept of : imagine a road trip from Philadelphia to Chicago | [with clause ] I couldn’t imagine what she expected to tell them.• [often as adj. ] ( imagined) believe (something unreal or untrue) to exist or be so : they suffered from ill health, real or imagined, throughout their lives.
2 [with clause ] suppose or assume : after Ned died, everyone imagined that Mabel would move away.• [as exclam. ] just suppose : imagine! to outwit Heydrich!DERIVATIVESimaginer |1ˈmødʒənər| nounORIGIN Middle English : from Old French imaginer, from Latin imaginare ‘form an image of, represent’ and imaginari ‘picture to oneself,’ both from imago, imagin- ‘image.’
Above are 3 nouns that make up the definition of creativity. These define what creativity means. It is the innate ability of the human brain. Creativity is what separates us from the other mammals. We have the unique ability to create, imagine and think. Our ideas make us creative. Our creativity is fostered by our imagination.
For me though I disagree with the one of the above definitions. Creativity is grammatically speaking a noun. However for Creativity to be fostered an action is needed: The action of creating and imagining.
For creativity to be successful, it needs to be a verb. I know that I may be throwing a spanner in the grammatical works and right now my inner editor is attempting to bite her tongue but I am sticking to my guns on this one.
Creativity must be a verb. It is an action word. What is more active than the art of creating something. For me creativity is also the opposite of destruction. Creativity is a tool we are able to use to fuel emotion. Through creativity you can make someone feel something or see something using the tool of your imagination. Creativity is a gift.
This brings me to Imagination. Imagination derives from an old french word: Imaginer.
Imaginer Meaning and Definition from Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
- Imaginer Im*ag”in*er, n. One who forms ideas or conceptions; one who contrives. –Bacon.
What a stunning concept! What a creative concept! What better calling than to be an Imaginer?
So today’s Thursday tips are:
- Become an Imaginer.
- Use your mind as a fountain for ideas.
- Let no idea escape: Keep a journal just for ideas. No matter how random an idea may seem, do not throw away the seed. Write it down and see what germinates. you may be surprised.
- Nurture your curiosity: This will fuel even more ideas.
- Nurture your right-brain thinking.
- Exercise your most important muscle: Your brain.
- Think outside the square: Stretch your horizons of what is possible. This is called imagination. If it has not been done, imagine how it could be done.
- Learn at least 1 new creative or artistic skill every week.
- Teach someone at least 1 new creative or artistic skill every month.
- Most important make Creativity an Action in your daily life.
May you have a creatively rich week.