Monday, December 17, 2012

Keeping Your Focus in Writing

It isn't always easy to keep your focus in writing. If you don't even have a minimal outline, taking you from one scene to another, it is easy to get lost.

Photo by: pfly, courtesy of Flickr
Without a map of some sort, you may find yourself in the creek when you intended to scale the mountain. And while I often write by the seat of my pants I also keep my flight in check by remaining focused on what the main character wants.

I need to know what he/she wants at the beginning of the story, and if what he/she wants is somehow overshadowed by unrelated scenes or not so needed characters, I may find that my story is leading me off the page.

And that's something, as a writer, that you don't want. You want your readers to stay engaged. You want them to continually ask, "What's going to happen next?" not "Why is this in there?" or "I'm lost."

If you fly by the seat of your pants in your writing like I do, take a leap of faith and stop your writing for a moment. Reflect on where your character began and what he/she is up to until this point.

Does what happens on page 2 connect with page 8 and page 10 and page 20, for example?

I love the "so what" factor. Go through each of your scenes and ask the "so what" question.

"Does this scene contribute to the overall plot of my book?"

cm195902, courtesy of Flickr
If not, take it out.

You'll find yourself climbing that mountain again before you know it.

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