Don’t leave unfinished projects behind to haunt you. Don’t be afraid to pick them back up with new energy behind them even if they have been collecting dust or taking up space in the computer.
A woman surprised me at one of my recent book signings of Shifting Sands Short Stories by the following question:
“I am on chapter six, how do I finish my book,” she asked me.
It was a definitely out-of-the-box question, because not everyone wants to admit they can’t finish something.
Here is what I have gathered over the years about finishing any major writing project like a book or a screenplay:
Set a target finish goal, something that’s important to you like your birthday or any other milestone.
Write every day a quota of pages, such as 5 pages.
Always have an end in mind for the book or script, but also for each chapter or scene.
Ask yourself: What do I want to carry out in this chapter or scene?
A loose flexible outline always helps.
Establish a reward program for yourself after each chapter. It can be anything from having a coffee with a friend or a token that will remind you that a particular chapter or scene is done.
Create a cover or poster early on even as a draft. It will help you visualize the book, play or film and the entire process.
Have a color theme in mind for the characters and the book overall.
Be cohesive. Don’t let it fall apart into pieces just because you stumble on a block in your way.
Explore, see, discover. I especially like these three verbs that I found on a sign by the Wittenbach nature center. They will continue to feed your inspiration. And in turn, the reader will keep turning pages.
Use character compass to balance out your stories. That means the right amount of thoughts, appearance, action and dialogue.
Don’t forget about the place and tension.
Don’t let unfinished Ghoulish projects haunt you.
The feature photo is from the Lowell Arts show “Between Turbulence and Tranquility” by artist Kim Ensch.
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