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No More Writer’s Block by Brian Smith

Thursday Writing Tip…

I often get asked by young authors how I am able to be so productive and avoid writers block. One of the methods I use to sidestep that thing called writers block is outlining using a Narrative Arc. Let’s face it, writing can be monotonous. The Narrative Arc is the rebellious way to write a book. I’m telling you up front…it’s not for everyone. If you’re someone who needs structure then this is probably not for you. But, if you are a contrarian by nature like me, this tool is an effective way to make writing fun and maintain productivity.


This is the Narrative Arc for my upcoming novel, The Club. I simply write out the scenes I know I want in the book inside of a pink or black bubble. Intense scenes (3K words or more) are assigned a PINK bubble. Transitional scenes (1K - 3K words) are assigned a BLACK bubble. I place the scenes on this arc BEFORE I write a single word in the novel. By adding the pink and black bubbles, I know how many words this book will have (at least in the beginning). As you can see, I already know “The Club” will have a minimum of 45K words just based off of the ideas I have in my head at the beginning. By the time I get to the end I’ll add more pink and black bubbles where needed and the book will be closer to 60K words. I don’t write books larger than 60K words because I don’t have the attention span to write more, and in this day and age, most casual readers don’t have the attention span to read more.


Rather than write in the typical sequential chapter order (Chapter 1 and then Chapter 2 and so on), I allow creativity to lead the way. I wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, sit in front of my computer, and decide which bubbles I want to write about that day. Once I finish writing about the bubbles I choose, I change the color to blue, and shut it down for the day. No need to keep writing because I’ve met my daily word count - it doesn’t matter that it’s out of order, I’ll put everything together like a puzzle when it’s time. I know that I’ve gotten all of my thoughts in the book when all of these PINK and BLACK bubbles are BLUE.

Well fellow scribes, that’s my secret. I’ve been teaching this method at the college level for 12 years. I’ve been doing it for nearly 20 years and cranking out on average 2 novels a year while still ghostwriting 4 books a year for others. So, use this method if you like. If it’s not for you…ignore it. 🤷🏽‍♂️ #KeepWriting #TheProfessorHasSpoken

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