Well, here are some shortcuts for getting there:
(*with the exception of Pinterest! - see 2)
2. Painting Pictures
In the old days they had mood boards, now we have Pinterest and it’s so much easier! I’m a very visual person and I create a board for each book I write, collecting pictures of characters, settings, details (for example, Natasha's floristry and nail art in Her Forget-Me-Not Ex) or anything else I feel is relevant to the story. I keep the board secret while I’m writing and often refer to it at the start of a writing session or if I need to recapture my focus. A picture of my hero or a place or object can be enough to trigger a new scene or to remind me of the mood or emotions I hoped to capture.
Personally, I prefer silence when I’m writing. But I often begin to link certain songs to each book and I play these when I’m driving or relaxing, and the lyrics can spark new ideas, taking my story in unexpected directions.
Brainstorm what you love about your story. Go on, try it now! Write a page or a paragraph – for your eyes only – listing what sets you on fire about it.
I do this right at the inception of a book, when the idea is shiny and new, and in my imagination the novel is going to be the next bestseller! (sadly that feeling doesn't last!) It might be that I have a particularly colourful heroine or a beautiful setting, a captivating opening scene or a special relationship between two characters that makes my heart melt. Sometimes what I have in mind is more nebulous, like a mood (tense, dreamy, dramatic) or a theme (forgiveness, starting over, commitment). Whatever it is, I try to pin it down and summarise it, and then later on, I can refer back to it. I think of it as my story in a nutshell. And at the start of a writing session not only does it remind me why I started writing the book, but it also helps to keep my story focused.
5. Finish on a High
‘Always stop while you are going good’ - Ernest Hemingway
Finish in the middle of an exciting scene, they say, and then you'll be eager to return to your work-in-progress and you’ll know exactly what happens next. It’s good advice.
Of course, as your book begins to develop and your characters have grown real enough that they follow you round your everyday life, you might not need these shortcuts any more. But until then, it’s always good to have a few tricks up your sleeve to speed things up and get you where you want to be!
Do you have any tips or tricks that work for you? I'd love to hear them...
Sophie Claire's novel, Her Forget-Me-Not Ex is a heartwarming, contemporary romance set in sunny Provence (can you see why she wants to escape there fast?) and it's available from Amazon