A Tangent in Writing…

by Casey Alexander


Sometimes, I feel like I sit and stare at my screen or notebook waiting for inspiration to hit when really, it’s always there. Stream of consciousness and/or tangent writing are the best ways to bust through a sturdy writer’s block. Always remember, you’re drafting a novel. The first, second, third drafts don’t have to and won’t be the first thing you send off to a publisher so let your mind wander. 
Two roads diverged in a – yadda yadda yadda, stuff it Frost.

Writing my initial draft this year I hit a wall. I had almost two days were I only eeked out two thousand words or so where before I’d been hitting three to five a day. Needing to get more words done before class I sat and wrote whatever happened to come to mind. Physical descriptions, personality quirks, and other little things for minor characters, after an hour or two the ideas started flowing again. Now, forty thousand words later, that minor character is becoming a main character and the little details I was using to pad my word count for class have turned into essential bread crumbs. Instead of having to go back and add in the details, cramming them in wherever I could find a place, they’re already in the fabric of the story.
So, let your mind wander. If it’s useless scrap later on you can always go back and delete it. But, if it proves to be fruitful you will have saved yourself a lot of time and headache.
[Editor’s Note:  Tomorrow, the last class blog posts will go up!  Be sure to check them out.  – Lauren Burch]

One Comment on “A Tangent in Writing…”

  1. Lauren Burch says:

    This is good advice for writers of any age or level to hear, I think. When I write, I get so caught up in making sure events flow smoothly into each other that I often get completely stuck. Novels (or short stories, or anything else) don't have to be written scene by scene in a linear order. Tangent writing has definitely helped me break out of a slump, and I'm glad you wrote a blog post about it to help others out!

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