Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ — Momentum as a Writing Tool

“Now, where was I?”

Most folks dislike being interrupted. Finding your place in that column of figures you were adding. Wondering whether you were just about to add the salt, or just added the salt. Might as well start the joke over from the beginning because you aren’t sure where you left off.

With a non-fiction book, momentum is a good idea. With fiction, it’s vital. One reason to write every day, even a few sentences, is to keep the story rolling in your mind. The thread of story, the creative process, is tenuous at times. We’ve all experienced the brilliant thought we were sure we’d remember but which evaporated, leaving only a stain.

keep moo-ving
keep moo-ving

Your characters, real as they feel sometimes, aren’t. If you don’t see your buddy Clem for a week, he’s still the same person when you see him again. When you don’t write about your character Percival for a week, his verbal patterns, sense of humor, or knowledge of his circumstances and environment can drift off course.

Your hand is on the tiller of your story’s semblance of reality. Any sailor will tell you that letting go at the wrong moment will lead to disaster.

They’ll also tell you it takes long years of experience to know whether or not this is the wrong moment.

Keep that story rollin’ and let mental momentum keep your characters in character, your threads woven tightly, and, as a side benefit, your spirit tied up in your art.

Tomorrow: sure, you need a break. But your momentum asks, when?

2 thoughts on “Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ — Momentum as a Writing Tool

  1. That’s interesting!

    I have been working on one story for years, and I do feel like my characters are real. In fact, they feel like close friends of mine, friends living inside my head (yea, I don’t have many real-life friends…)

    I am sure they have evolved and changed over the years, but probably only as much as I have evolved and changed… Now I will need to keep that in mind and pay attention to see how much this shows in my story so far!

  2. If you’ve been writing chronologically (chapter 1 first, then chapter 2, etc.) your later work will feel different. It’s inevitable because it’s human.

    A good developmental editor will note the changes and help find a solution if it detracts from your story.

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