Weekly Dispatch: Arrhythmia

Losing momentum is easy. ✨Plus✨ some more words on how to avoid the boring, and the comeback of the week.

Words Written: 170
Writing Streak: 0 days (boo!)

This week was a good reminder of how hard writing can be and how easy it is to lose momentum on a project. One busy evening and poof, there went my hard-earned writing streak.

I'm not going to beat myself over missing a few days. With everything going on in my life right now, I have a lot of potential excuses I could choose from—and every one of them would be valid. But at some point I'm going to have to put up or shut up about this WIP, and that's when we'll see if "Irredeemable" has the legs to carry itself through the long, lonely trek to a finished draft.

Reader Question: Getting to the Interesting Bits

chikaros asked a follow-up question to last week's Dispatch: "[W]hat do you do if multiple scenes that must be written (to get to an interesting scene) are boring you as you write them?"

I tell you about the boring stuff instead of showing it, or I re-work the boring scenes to make them interesting.

I ran into this situation plenty of times while drafting "The Breaking." The ideation phase of that novel involved a technique Matt Bell calls "writing the islands," where the interesting scenes (the islands) are written first and the rest of the drafting process is spent figuring out a narrative path to connect them. Those connecting scenes are the ones imperiled by boredom. (If they were obviously interesting, they would have been islands!)

The first technique I mentioned is exposition (telling vs showing). For example, in chapter 18 of "The Breaking" my goal is to get Kyra to a little isolated farmstead on Samos. The second scene of that chapter tells you how Kyra uses the money Deimos gave her to travel to Samos and find a temporary place to stay while she searches for a permanent home to buy. It's all exposition until the end, when we drop right into a conversation between Kyra and the woman she buys the farmstead from, who tells Kyra, "Gods willing, I'll die before the money runs out." That line of dialogue is important enough to show. The preceding exposition glosses over the boring details of how Kyra got there.

This post is for subscribers only

Already have an account? Sign in.

Subscribe to The Athenaeum

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.