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get inspired - how to

Break through book-writing boredom

Tell us if this sounds familiar: You’ve got a brilliant idea for a story. So, you frantically start writing, trying to get every single one of your beyond awesome light bulb moments onto paper. And then, deep breath, you’ve captured it all. Just one tiny detail: It’s not exactly a complete story. But you don’t know what’s coming next and thinking about it gives you a serious case of the yawns. Boredom’s setting in fast. What’s a writer to do?


Get to know your characters

Dive in to the heart of your story, your characters. Pull out your art supplies and sketch out each and every protagonist and antagonist. Write out their likes and dislikes. Scribble down diary entries written in their voices. Create background for them, think about what they were like as babies, consider who they’ll be 10 years after your story takes place. Getting to know your characters will better help you decide where to take them next, and write in their voices to create killer dialogue.


Create subplots

Even if you throw them out the door, taking your characters on a little mini adventure could help you—you guessed it—get to know them better. Bonus: It could give you other ideas for where to take your actual story. Go far-fetched, go realistic. But wherever you go, take it as far as you can. And if you hit a dead end, run off with another subplot.


Shelve it—for now

Sometimes ideas need to percolate. So, let them. Put this story to the side and start working on another one (or tackling another dream, like learning how to play the guitar or training for a 5K). Who knows? Maybe your next great idea will come to you in the shower, on the bus or in the middle of a run. And maybe it’ll be the next place your current story will go, or maybe it’ll be a new story. Whatever it is, follow the muse, babe! Follow the muse.


What do you do when YOU get stuck in the middle of a story? Share your best tips in the comments!

published April 17, 2014