Day 5: Breakthrough

What a difference 24 hours can make. Yesterday I was sure that I wouldn’t be writing fluidly until day 24 out of the 30. Today, the characters took over, and one of them did something I never saw coming until I was writing it on the page. And at that moment I thought: I really am just transcribing a story that already exists! Amazing.

So today’s big exercise was pacing. Instead of moving at a fast pace to pound out the required number of words, I slowed down. I took time to see: what was really in the scene? To ask: what would Hero really say at this point? What would be his real reaction? Would that reaction be true and real? And somehow by the end of the word count, the characters were living in the moment and leading the way. Amazing. Hope this is repeatable.

Things I learned from school today:

Guideline 5: Close the door to the space isn’t always going to work for me. I am too extroverted to write alone with the door shut, especially if I’m having the characters interact with each other. I want to talk about what my characters are thinking and doing with someone else, and get immediate feedback. Often times when I get stuck,  the very act of saying something aloud to someone else fixes the problem. (I call this talk therapy.) It was nice to have my husband here to hear me out.

Constantly reading other books inspires and helps me. While I was writing today, ridiculous questions would pop up like: “what’s the best way to write about how this character gets up, checks his inbox, then walks across the room?” or “if she’s thinking to herself for three pages, do I need to write her name every now and then so the reader remembers who she is?” Picking up a published book and seeing how the pros handle these and other ridiculous questions really was a support and comfort.


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