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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Blog: Willa Blair: Why Stop in the Middle When You Can Finish?

No, no, no.  I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong.  I'm talking about your book. 

Why is a book so easy to start and so hard to continue once you get to chapter four?  This is a topic that comes up again and again among authors I know, from aspiring authors to the multi-published.  Everyone loves the beginning of their story.  The conflict is new, the possibilities are endless, and oh, that hero!  We do love a new book boyfriend, don't we? 

And then there's the finish.  No, no, not that.  Of the book.  The ending is clear.  The path to the ending is muddy, full of pitfalls, and confused with sidetracks that lead nowhere. 

Some of us write outlines.  They're great, but they don't stop us from spending hours perfecting the opening hook, introducing the hero and heroine, setting up the initial conflict, and polishing the first three chapters until they shine.  Then hitting the proverbial wall.  Is this sounding familiar to anybody?  Yes, of course.  You're all nodding. 

Here are a few tricks I've learned.  When I get stuck, I sometimes resort to the tried and true tactic of putting the book away.  It may go in a drawer for days, weeks or months until I can look at it with a fresh eye.   By then, I've thought long and hard and come up with a solution.  Or I've ignored it, let my subconscious work on it, and come up with a solution.  At least, that's the plan.

But that's chancy, and it wastes a lot of writing time. 

A better tactic is to move your hero and heroine to a new location (road trip!), or to introduce a new character who will add new
 complications to the plot, such as an old lover, a new villain (worse than the old villain), or another person who needs to be rescued.  That fresh element may do the trick.

An even better tactic is to skip ahead and write a scene that you know will be fun to write.  That scene may be a turning point in the book's central conflict, but I've found that a sex scene usually works.  Once you (ahem) get your juices flowing again, you can return to the scene that had you stumped and write it.  Or you may choose to delete it and adjust your plot to include some better idea you've had since you last left that scene.  Either way, you're forging ahead again.

From there, you'll be well on your way to reaching your goal and typing 'The End.'  And won't that feel great?

Willa Blair is the best-selling and award-winning author of Scottish romance with a paranormal twist, set in the 16th century Highlands, when the old ways, and old talents, still shaped events.

She always wished she had several psi talents, such as reading her husband’s mind, cleaning house by simply thinking about it, and flying. But alas, no. So she endows her historical romance characters with special talents and lives vicariously through them. She loves reading and writing romance novels set in the past, present and future.

Donal MacNabb is loyal to his adopted Lathan clan, yet he resents being a pawn in their treaty negotiations with the struggling MacKyries. The MacKyrie clan needs his skills as an arms master, but its Laird is bartering for more than Donal is prepared to give.

Ellie MacKyrie knows the Lathan treaty will help protect her clan from the neighbor determined to seize her holdings any way he can—including forcing her into marriage. But she has another reason to want the Lathan alliance. She has Seen the stubborn Donal MacNabb reaching for her in her dreams.

While Donal fights to save a clan in trouble, his desire for the MacKyrie Seer wars with his obligation to his Laird. Before she is forced into a marriage that will destroy her clan, Ellie must find the heart behind Donal’s gruff exterior and convince him he is the man of her dreams.

Highland Seer's official release date is 1 November.  Until then, it's on sale on Amazon for $2.99.  Buy link:
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Sandy said...

Willa, I would love to be able to clean my house with my mind. lol Animals can communicate with one another, but we have lost that ability. I believe we once had the ability to do things with just our minds but have lost it.

Your story sounds great.

jean hart stewart said...

Yep, we all dread the soggy middle. I'm one who lets my subconscious handle the problem, and I often wake up with a solution. Too much thinking gets me nowhere.

Rose Anderson said...

Enjoyable post Willa. When my middle sags, (lol not art imitating life)I start at the beginning and read and tweak. As a pantser, I can't skip scenes. That train will never get back on the track if I do.

Cara Marsi said...

Great post, Willa. And yup, I've been there with the saggy middle. Thanks for the advice to get through it. I always wanted to twitch my nose like Samantha in Bewitched and clean my house.

I love Scottish Highlander books and paranormal. I'll have to check out your books.

Paris said...

I'm with you and Sandy, cleaning the house with my mind would be a big plus! So much free time to figure out that sagging middle, lol!

Melissa Keir said...

Great advice Willa! I've done all those suggestions. I usually find that putting the book aside and working on another helps. :) No time wasted that way!

All the best with your book. I love the hunky cover!

Willa Blair said...

Thanks for your comments! I'm glad some of these suggestions are helpful. We've all been there! You never know when inspiration will strike, but you can help it along. Keep writing!

Willa Blair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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