Saving my Writing Bacon
By Alice Loweecey
I’m a writer. I create. My readers want more mysteries from me, so I brew some Seattle’s Best No. 5 and grab my laptop. Allons-y!
That is, until I’m staring at that blank white Word doc and nothing’s coming.
A creature called “Deadline” likes to appear on my desk right about then. It usually looks like the outcome of several illegal horror movie experiments mixed with wolf spider DNA. Google “wolf spider” if you don’t need to sleep tonight – I’m not going to insert a picture here. (You’re welcome.)
When I’m being menaced by that creature and my creative mojo is binge-watching Firefly on Netflix instead of, you know, creating, I reach for my “Save My Writing Bacon” list.
(source 20th century fox television)
1. Set a goal with a reward. For example, when I reach 500 words, I will then allow myself to watch one episode of Firefly. The words don’t have to be creative, but they do need to be productive. Which ties into bacon-saver number two:
2. Research. I love research and can get lost in it for hours. I like to front-load my research so all of it is at my fingertips as I'm writing. I’m a visual writer, so I screencap maps, house floor plans, real estate listings, poisonous plants, anything that I’ll need for when I’m deep in the murderer’s head.
3. Turn your usual process upside down. Write a 2-page synopsis if that's something you usually do after the first draft is complete. Outline if you’re a pantser. Front-load the research if you usually research on the fly. Sometimes turning things back-to-front gives my brain the kick in the butt it needs.
(source: The New York Post)
4. Rethink the inciting incident. If you discover you’ve started the book with the wrong inciting incident—this happened to me—I trolled news stories past and present. After a few hours I ended up using the news like a buffet: One element from here, part of a subplot from there, a quirky character from a third article. I now have a file of articles labeled Plot Bunnies.
5. This final bacon-saver is a version of reversing the process. Write in longhand if you usually write on the laptop, or write on the the laptop if you prefer longhand This works for any draft I’m in, regardless of deadline. Because if the words aren’t flowing onto. keyboard, it doesn’t matter if I write faster on my laptop. I need to write, period. Sometimes my brain needs the visuals of lots of ink on paper.
There. 500 words. Firefly, here I come!
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