Announcements! We have announcements!
First of all we are all so proud of our own Sharon K. Souza. Her wonderful, provocative book, Lying on Sunday, is a finalist in the RWA Inspirational Readers Choice Contest. Winners will be announced in July and we are certainly pulling for her –because this excellent book deserves it!
Another announcement is of our latest winner here on Novel Matters. Our first-time poster, Elizabeth McKenzie, has won two copies of Zora and Nicky by Claudia Mair Burney (one for you and one for a friend) – compliments of Cook Communications. Elizabeth, come on down! Or better yet, send your snail mail address to us and we’ll send them off to you posthaste. Or media mail☺
Today’s topic is timing. Not comedic timing. Not the little belt on your car’s engine that gives out to the tune of thousands of dollars in repair bills. Not labor pain timing (though it often feels like that.) I’m speaking of how to pick up writing after you’ve been interrupted.
Now, up until recently that has never been an issue for me. All twelve of my nonfiction books, and hundreds of magazine articles, were written from 3x5 cards that I arranged in logical order. It was a system that worked perfectly for me. If a child screamed bloody murder out in the yard, I could attend to that emergency and all its circumstantial tendrils (‘oo killed ‘oo; the overboiling pot on the stove, the escaping cat, the leaking diaper and on and on) – and come back to my desk and know exactly what should come next.
But ah, fiction….
I absolutely must have extensive, uninterrupted blocks of time to first travel to, and then reside in, a fictional world. I can’t write a novel in short spurts.
The absolute worst writing advice I ever acted on was that of an unnamed woman who said that the best way to resume her writing when she had to take a break was to stop in mid-sentence. She said that helped her get going for the next writing session.
I remember doing that. Trouble is, I had no idea where I was going with the half-thought on the screen the next morning. I spent half a day trying to figure out what the heck I must have been thinking. I could have strangled that woman.
How about you? What’s the worst advice you ever got regarding how to keep the flow going?