• Michelle

Stuck on a Scene?

I'm a notorious perfectionist. I always struggle with a first draft because I want everything to be perfect with one scene before I move on to the next. Before I know it, I've spent an hour on one page. This slows my momentum and motivation because I just spent the majority of my energy trying to perfect one page, and then the rest of the writing after that suffers. 

First drafts are supposed to be bad. They're not supposed to have fancy words, prose, or really be entirely complete. Perfecting the manuscript comes with the second, third, or even fourth draft (drafts can sometimes go on forever, don't feel discouraged if it takes multiple drafts to complete your manuscript). For the first draft, you just have to get out the words you can and keep going.

So, what have I learned to help counteract my need to perfect everything?

Put what happens in brackets.

Action scenes or description scenes are enemy. Don't get me wrong, I love love love writing them, but they are what takes me so long to feel like they're perfect. So, instead of sitting for an hour trying to make the best scene happen, I instead use brackets and move on to the next bit of writing.

For example: She turned around and saw the shadow of the creature closing in. [Our heroine escapes the creature's attack by doing a clever maneuver]. 

This technique can also work for fact checking. For whatever genre you're writing, you can always add [Look up facts about medieval diets] or [double check person's birthday] or [think of a name for the town] and so on. 

Leave enough to remind yourself what you originally had planned for the scene, but now you can move on and keep writing. You're not getting stuck and instead keeping your writing momentum going.

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