So You Wanna Write Part 8: Knowing When to Stop
April 25, 2014 25 Comments
Ever read the Bone saga by Jeff Smith? You should no matter who you are.
Years ago I was reading an article by Mr. Smith and he said something that changed my writing habits for life.
He was talking about his writing process while developing Bone. He said something like, “You’ve just got to know when to stop and skip a scene and come back to it later.”
That tip has done wonders for my writing. And, it’s a great tool to combat writer’s block. If you’re willing to skip a difficult scene and move on ahead of the story to construct something further down the timeline, then your book or story isn’t just sitting in limbo.
Be willing to skip scenes. Heck, on your first draft, be willing to be sloppy! I’m in the process of writing a young readers historical novel and it’s very sloppy right now – the facts are all wrong, the setting’s a mess – but that’s why I’m going to go back and fix all that.
When you buy a building for your business you don’t start adding up your funds right away or upgrading your product line. You’re focused on one thing initially, and that’s location.
The same with writing. Don’t worry about the details on your first draft. Worry about one thing only – story, story, story!
John Lasseter, CCO of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios says, “Every single Pixar film, at one time or another, has been the worst movie ever put on film.”
In fact, no animated movie has ever been filmed chronologically. They may even start with the third act, and the opening scene may be the last thing they work on. For my historical novel, I have the entire ending drafted already, and I’m not even in the second act!
Be willing to skip around, get messy, get scattered, and in the end, it’ll all come together.