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February 10, 2016 / catherinebwrites




So you’ve come to a standstill. You’ve taken a break. You’ve gone for a walk.   You’ve meditated.   You’ve fed the cat.   You’ve had a coffee and yet here you are again, stuck.   Your mind’s as blank as the page in front of you.   And you have no clue at all as to how to proceed.   Here are a couple of things to do that will help.

  1. Ask:   What is this piece about?   What is it really about?

Yes I know, you’ve asked them before.   Ask them again.   Write down your answers, expanding as much as you can.   This will help get the juices flowing.   Create a file called BIBLE ( see below) and save it there.

2. Write a C. V. for your character(s)

Include the usual details, name, date of birth, place of birth, education, work experience etc.  Also include parent names, number and names of siblings, position in the family, quality of schooling.   Include significant events/ influences that helped form their character e.g. social background, neighbourhood, grandparents and extended family.  Taste in clothes, music, t.v. etc. Anything else that strikes you as important.   Save this in BIBLE.

You won’t include all this information in your story but it will throw light on your character so you can bring them to life on the page. It will also suggest new scenes and more ways to develop your story.

Later you may find that you need to change some of these details.   Open BIBLE and update.

3. Imagine that you are the character.

Write a monologue as the character.   Write it in the first person and the present tense. Write about the situation in which the character finds him/herself, how they got there, what they think of it, what decisions they face etc.   Save this in BIBLE

E.G.   My name is Mary Mc Donald. It is March 1901 and I am waiting for my father to come home.  I am worried that something has happened to him…   

This too will help you to understand your characters and suggests new ways to develop your story.

4. Draw a map and write a guide

Maps help you clarify what should happen where.   If you’re writing about a real place refer to a detailed map and a guide book of that place.   If the place /district is fictional draw your own map and write your own guide.   Save them in BIBLE

5. Create your own BIBLE

BIBLE is the file where you keep all your background information.   In the heat of writing it is too easy to change details without realising. Joe Blogs, house-builder, heavy rock fanatic and native of Bumbletown can, by Chapter 5, have morphed into Peter Warren, carpenter, U2 fan and native of Crumbleville, causing the reader much confusion!   The BIBLE helps you to stay consistent.  Keep it updated.


Go with your first thought. It may not be the perfect answer but it will lead you to it.

Trust your intuition.   Trust your imagination.   Trust the process.

The first draft is for your eyes only.   

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