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Is Your Book Idea on Life Support?
If you’ve ever worked tirelessly on a manuscript but it still seems lifeless and devoid of inspiration, welcome to the club. It’s a rite of passage for every legitimate
writer, so pat yourself on the back.
Now let's get to work. Here are some tried
and true ways to resuscitate your book idea:
Relax, Take a Step Back, and Reflect.
Always, always begin with this. Put your project aside for awhile so you can detach from it emotionally. This reboot will provide you with fresh perspective and enable you to approach your work with a renewed sense of
During this period, reflect on what originally drew you to the story or
topic. Remind yourself of the passion that sparked your interest, and reconnect with the underlying themes or messages you intended to convey. This reflection will reignite your motivation and help you approach the manuscript with a fresh perspective.
I think this works best when you open a new document without looking at the original manuscript. Then let your fingers do the walking.
Additionally, immerse yourself in environments that fuel your creativity. Take walks in nature, visit museums, or engage in activities that relax and rejuvenate you. These experiences can help clear your mind, allowing your creative juices to flow freely.
Analyze and Identify the Issues.
Once you've gained some distance, it's time to critically evaluate your manuscript. Read through it with a discerning eye, identifying the weaknesses, plot holes, or areas that need improvement. Make notes about what isn't working, what feels flat or clichéd, and which characters lack depth.
Consider asking trusted peers for feedback or join a critique group. Their objective
insights can highlight blind spots you may have missed. Constructive criticism is invaluable for identifying areas that require improvement.
I know, sometimes it’s scary exposing your infant manuscript to outside eyes. But it’s worth it.
Pro tip #1: Don’t run your manuscript by somebody who’s only going to tell you what you want to hear. Family members can be good at that, but in the end, you’ll find yourself at the same dead end.
Rework Your Table of Contents.
This works especially well for nonfiction. Sometimes the problem is the flow of your material.
Years ago, I worked on a manuscript that seemed to be going nowhere. Instead of giving up, I wrote the big idea for each chapter on separate pieces of paper. Then I spent a week reorganizing the sheets of paper, eliminating some altogether, until the flow felt right. Then I got to work.
Scrivener offers an electronic form of notecards that you can shuffle and re-shuffle, but I find that hard copies work best for me.
Pro tip #2: Never, ever delete any of your work. Open a new document and place your leftovers there.
Experiment with Structure and Point of View.
This works well for fiction and memoirs. Sometimes a lackluster manuscript can benefit from a structural shake-up. Experiment with different narrative structures, such as non-linear storytelling or alternating points of view. This can breathe new life into your story and offer a fresh perspective
for both you and your readers.
Consider the pacing of your manuscript. Are there
sections that feel slow or rushed? Adjust the pacing to ensure a captivating and well-paced narrative that keeps readers engaged.
Revisit the Plot and Characters.
Breathing life into a dead manuscript often involves reevaluating the plot and characters. Look for opportunities to introduce conflict, add complexity, or
redefine character arcs. Consider introducing new subplots, twist endings, or unexpected character developments that will captivate your readers.
If you haven't done this already, create an avatar for all of your characters. What are their motivations and fears? How do they evolve throughout your story? The more fully you understand your characters, the more compelling their journeys can become.
Seek Inspiration from Various Sources.
I love this one! To revive your manuscript, draw inspiration from diverse sources. Read widely in your genre, but also explore different genres and mediums like films, art, or music. Inspiration can come from unexpected places, and exposing yourself to different forms of storytelling can help spark new ideas and approaches.
Set Achievable Goals and Establish a Routine.
Reviving a dead manuscript requires commitment and discipline. One reason you might have difficulty building momentum is because you haven't established a writing rhythm.
Set achievable writing goals and establish a writing routine that works for you. Whether it's allocating a specific time of day or setting a daily word count target, consistency is key. By making writing a habit, you'll steadily make progress and regain momentum.
Let Fear Motivate You.
You're probably sitting on a brilliant idea for a book. What if the same basic idea is hovering in another person's imagination? If you just sit there, overthinking your book idea, someone else with the same idea is probably hammering away.
Schedule a FREE Brainstorming Session with Me.
The bottom line is this: writing is hard, tedious work. Most ideas don't suddenly hit us all at once. Sometimes, we just need an outside person to draw those brilliant ideas out of us.
And besides, what's better than free??
Click here to schedule a possibilities session with me and let's bring your book to