When your writing takes a wrong turn


You are feeling more inspired than ever before. The story is moving. Your words are grooving. You see the ending just ahead and it’s brilliant. You can’t wait to get there. And then suddenly, it stops. Everything stops. Not because your ideas have dried up. It’s just that something feels wrong. You can no longer see your way to the end.

Flickr: Bert Kaufmann

Flickr: Bert Kaufmann

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The road that looked so certain, so clear has gone dark. The problem? Somehow, somewhere you have taken a wrong turn. Finding where you did can be something of a challenge, but it’s not impossible.

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If your story has stalled, consider the following tips:

Step away. Wait for the fog to lift and then attack the story again with a clear mind – a cognitive mind that steps away from the conscious self and reviews a plot or a passage with a critical eye. This is not easy.

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Go back in. Prepare a short list of questions that you wish to have answered. Questions like, why do I not care about this character? Where in the story does the plot seem awry or underdeveloped?

Read. Start from the beginning and read earlier chapters. Take note of where the story was churning along at its strongest pace.

Read again. This time look for sections where the plot weakened.

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Once you’ve identified those soft spots, then consider re-wiring those scenes and maybe even sending them in a different direction for stronger energy. Doing these things will help you find a way to jump start your creativity. You just know that this story will capture the hearts and minds of readers everywhere.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at EducatedWriter.com and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at kerrismabee.com.

Kerri S. Mabee

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