Sometimes, the words flow like raindrops in a summer downpour. And then, that downpour is immediately followed by a dry spell.

I know the reason: I realized late last week as I sat down to write that I was headed in the wrong direction in my WIP. Part of me wanted to keep going, but that seems a bit like driving 15 miles in the wrong direction on the interstate because I took a wrong turn. No, the best thing to do is to pull over, figure out where I went wrong, retrace my steps, and get the story back on track.

And this despite the fact that I have an outline. I see now that part of the problem is that there are holes in the outline—why would the villain do X instead of Y, when Y is his normal modus operandi? How will his sudden change bring the heroine face to face with her greatest fears, and what’s the best way to show that on the page? What will she learn about herself and how will she change as a result?

So the beginning of this week hasn’t led to much writing, mostly just slogging through the story trying to identify the moment things veered off course and set them back on the correct path. Today, I have a new scene planned out that should help with that. This week is less about word count and more about re-envisioning some of my scenes—even though I’m so close to the end of this story I can feel it, and I really want to race toward The End.

Still, the beginning of the week hasn’t been completely unproductive. I went to a concert Monday night, and the music, a mix of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” with some Bach and Tchaikovsky thrown in, was the perfect backdrop for writing inspiration to strike. I began picturing scenes from a short story and, by the end of the performance, not only was I swept away by the music (the performance was fantastic!), but I also had a clearly formed idea for that story in my head.

I spent part of Tuesday jotting down notes and writing a brief synopsis for that story, a short but stinging sequel to the story I’m currently working on. 🙂

I also decided to go back and do Barbara Samuel’s Voice Worksheet again. I attended her voice workshop a couple years ago at a writing conference, and it provided great insight into my writing. It’s been a while since I’ve done any voice exercises, so I decided to give the worksheet a go. It was definitely worth revisiting.

ROW80 midweek check-in

ROW80Logocopy1.) Finish a draft of “Good, Old-Fashioned Magic”: 2,700 to 3,000 words per week. Behind on this goal, since I’m revising instead of adding to the word count.

2.) Read to hone my craft: Making progress on this front.

3.) Blog at least two times a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays: On track to meet this goal.

4.) Check in on Twitter daily and on WANA Tribe at least once/week. On track to meet this goal.

5.) Comment on 5-6 blogs per day, Monday-Thursday. On track so far.

6.) Super-secret project: Write two articles/posts each week for that project. No progress yet this week.

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), founded by author Kait Nolan, is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Click here to cheer on fellow participants.

What about you? Do you ever do any writing exercises when you’re struggling with a WIP or need a change of pace? Which are your favorites?

Do you ever realize your WIP is heading in the wrong direction? If so, how do you get your story back on track?

And how are your goals coming along this week?

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