Thursday, November 9, 2023

Dear O'Abby: How do I get unstuck?

 Dear O'Abby,

I'm doing NaNo and I started really strongly.  I flew through those first 10,000 words!  Then this week, I've hit a wall.  I know where the story needs to go, but I can't seem to get there.  Nothing seems to get my characters to the next place they need to be.  

Do you have any advice for me?  

Kind regards,


Dear Stuck,

I think we've all had periods like that, where you just can't figure out how to transition from one part of the story to another.

When I'm writing and find myself in a place like that, I just skip that bit.  Especially when the pressure is on like it is when you're doing NaNo.  You can come back to it later.  Just move on and write the next part of the book, the part you are trying to get to.  Often I find that by writing the next scenes, I find whatever it is I need to make the transition smooth.

And sometimes you realise that the issue isn't with the transition at all, but with whatever happened beforehand.  

All of this can be fixed later, when you revise.  Always keep in mind that perfection is not the goal during NaNo.  You're never going to come out on December 1 with a perfect manuscript.  This is a draft and a very rough one at that. NaNo isn't about perfection.  It's about getting that story in your head on the page.  That's it.

Perfection can come later.

So skip the transition that's holding you back and write the rest of the book.  You'll probably find you come up against this same problem again somewhere else in the story, but don't let it be the reason you quit.  Just move on and fill in the holes later.

Best of luck with the next 21 days!  I'm rooting for you.

X O'Abby

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