Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Maria Murnane reveals her secret to getting past the sticky parts.

I recently read a blog post by Maria Murnane at She Writes and asked Maria if I could share it with you. She graciously said yes.

Maria writes:

I’m currently working on my seventh novel, and one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned about the writing process is when to hit pause on a particular scene/sentence/description and move on. If you’re a perfectionist or Type-A personality, that can be hard to do, but it’s extremely important. Trust me.

I use all caps to keep me focused on progressing the story.

When I was writing my first novel, if I wasn’t sure where to take the story next, I would spend countless hours tweaking, editing, refining, and tinkering the words I already had written. Where did that get me? Nowhere! The problem with spending too much time on a particular area of the book is that you aren’t moving the story forward, and if you don’t move the story forward, you will never finish the book. I’m convinced this is why it takes some people 10 years to complete the first draft of a novel. They work so hard making every sentence perfect that it takes forever to get to the finish line.

A good trick I’ve learned is to use the ALL CAPS function. My current manuscript is filled with notes in ALL CAPS such as:

  • WRITE SOMETHING FUNNY HERE
  • FLESH OUT THE DESCRIPTION OF THIS RESTAURANT
  • ADD IN SOMETHING HERE ABOUT WHY THEY GOT DIVORCED
  • FIX THIS- SOUNDS WEIRD
  • MAKE THIS DESCRIPTION BETTER
  • DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?

It would be easy to spend days, if not weeks working on the above issues, but at the end of the day, they are details that aren’t critical to the story. If I want to finish the novel, my focus has to be on progressing the story. 

Once you finish the first draft, then it’s time to go back and fix all the problem areas you’ve put in ALL CAPS along the way. That’s where the fun begins, because you know you’re in the home stretch!

Maria Murnane six book coversBooks by Maria Murnane

 Note from Marlene: I was so inspired by Maria’s wisdom and fun attitude that I signed up to receive her blog posts in my email inbox. Click here to read some of Maria’s inspiring posts. You can also sign up to receive The Write Spot Blog posts in your email inbox (scroll down, look on the right side for the sign-up box).

Maria Murnane.2Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It’s a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, Chocolate for Two, and Cassidy Lane. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Click here to learn more about Maria and her consulting services. 

Katwalk, Maria’s latest book, will be released August 12th.

To order a copy of any of Maria’s books, please click here.

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2014 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2 comments

  1. Kathy Myers

    MARIA HAS A GREAT IDEA HERE. I TYPE “XXX” WHEN I NEED TO THINK OF A NAME OR LOOK SOMETHING UP ON THE INTERNET. THIS PREVENTS GETTING BOGGED DOWN WITH DETAILS, OR GETTING SUCKED INTO THE VORTEX OF THE INTERNET. BUT I LIKE THE IDEA OF USING ALL CAPS AS A NOTE TO SELF ABOUT LARGER SECTIONS THAT NEED REVISITING. I WILL IMMEDIATELY STEAL MARIA’S WRITING TOOL…AS I AM ALWAYS APT TO DO.

    1. mcullen Post author

      🙂

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