Don't get sidetracked
You may not write crime drama, neither do I, but imagine you are writing that great American novel. You’re deep into the middle of writing a great scene and your protagonist is about to go on the offensive. He pulls out a handgun. No, that doesn’t sound right. He pulls out a revolver. No, still not quite right. What kind of a pistol is that now? By the time it would take you to figure it out your character could have been overpowered ten times over.
Has this ever happened to you? You’re not alone, and it can be very frustrating when it happens. So, what can you do? Well, you could stop your writing right there in the middle of the scene and go do some research. But if you’re like me, once I stop it can sometimes be difficult to get that same momentum back. Maybe you didn’t research ahead of time at all and just jumped right into writing, not wanting to lose that creative flow or words.
Whether your habit is to research everything you can think of before you start writing, or just jump right in, this tip will work. Many authors do some amount of research before beginning a new writing project. However, it would be surprising if they researched everything they would need for their novel before writing it.
There is a good chance that at some point you will be tripped up by not knowing or being able to remember something you need to know. This shouldn’t be a train-derailing moment for your writing.
By now you’re probably wondering what the heck pumpkins have to do with writing. This is a method that I use when I write. I usually do some research before writing. Unfortunately, I really love research. I tend to get lost in research and hours can fly by. This is not something you want happening when you needed to find out the type of handgun your protagonist would be carrying.
When I get to a stumbling point, I just type in the word ‘pumpkin’ and keep going. Then, after the draft is done, or at least my designated writing time, I can go back and do a search for the magical word, pumpkin. The only way I see this being a problem is if I decide to write a book about pumpkins.
Follow these steps the next time you write to keep from getting stuck.
Whatever you choose to put in your patch, don’t let a piece of missing research steal your precious, often limited writing time. Keep writing and get that novel finished. This is a great tool to use when you’re trying to meet a deadline like, oh, I don’t know, NaNoWriMo? Just remember to go back and harvest the pumpkins.