This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I think most authors have a word hump in their WIP that they dread. Mine is between twenty to thirty thousand words. No matter what book I’m working on my writing seems to stall and the self-doubt creeps in when I get to that stage. But with my latest WIP I’m on a tight deadline to get the first draft done before the baby arrives in 4 weeks time (eek), I didn’t have time to get stuck on any hump. With that in mind I approached 20k with a new attitude, this time it wasn’t going to beat me and it didn’t.
I think at twenty thousand words I’ve got over my excitement of writing a new novel and the end suddenly feels like a long way off. It’s when I run out of that initial steam and I start to wonder where the book is going and I begin to think everything I’ve written is complete and utter rubbish.
This time, I’ve planned my novel using the three act structure so that I know the broad plot and the major story lines. I have then been sitting down every ten thousand words and planning a number of chapters and smaller story ideas in order to ensure I don’t get stuck. I always write in a very linear manor. I use one document and I start at chapter one and I finish at the end. I’m definitely not a jump round a book type writer. But this time, conscious that I couldn’t get stuck for days, I did what I’ve never done in a first draft – I left a placeholder for a chapter that I wasn’t entirely sure about.
I had a chapter I wanted to set at my character’s workplace. I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen there, but I had a rough idea. I knew that it was going to slow me down to think about it, so I omitted the chapter. Instead I moved on and carried on with the other story lines that were flowing nicely in my head, and in writing the latter parts, I now have a clearer idea what has to happen in that missing chapter. I’m going to go back and write it after I’ve finished the book.
Before I got to the hump I made sure that I had a very good idea what was going to happen in the chapters I was about to write. I sat down and bullet pointed the key events; I researched the places the characters were going to eat in or visit. Essentially I made sure that when I sat down at my keyboard there was nothing that was going to get in my way between me and my typing.
Between the over-zealous planning and the missing chapter I managed to write over the hump in a few days of frantic writing. I was ecstatic. Not only was over my hump, but it meant that I was half way through my novel as it’s a short book of only just over 60k words.
The difference it’s made is staggering. I’ve not got my usual this book is awful loop going on in my head as I haven’t let myself have the time to think it. Because my word count is continuously going up it’s boosting my confidence and making me believe that I can get it finished.
What about you: Do you have a word hump in your manuscript? Do you have any tips of how to beat it?