From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Creative Writing: the Next Sentence Rule

You've been working on your novel or short story. You finish for the night, and spend the next day in school or meetings or driving kids or whatever. Finally you have a moment to yourself, and you go to sit down to continue working on your piece. You open your file, put your hands on the keyboard, and nothing comes. You sit there, trying to think of the best way to continue the story, but before you can get anything down you are called away on another errand. This happens to me pretty much every time I sit down to write. Ok, not every time, but a lot. So what I've come up with to maybe help with this problem is what I call 'The Next Sentence Rule.'

Basically what the next sentence rule says is this: write down or memorize the last sentence you've written of your piece. While you're in classes, school, the car, wherever, have that sentence with you (in your head or on paper), and write the one that comes next (in your head or on paper). That way when you sit down back at your computer you will have something to get your fingers moving. You'll have something to start back up with, and a lot of times thats all you need to get cracking.

So while your driving home for the holidays, sitting around the table with your family, going to classes, work, or whatever, be thinking and be ready with your next few words for the next time you sit down to write.

Hope this helps, and happy holidays!
Sarah Allen


  1. Hi Sarah,

    The "Next Sentence Rule" is an excellent way, not only to maintain your thoughts on where you left off in the literary piece, but to allow your thought process, through time, to build on what you've written as new thoughts attach themselves to this "Next Sentence".

    Much of what I write remains unfinished 'on paper' but continues to evolve in the thought process throughout the day. I don't use pen and paper but rather keep it in my memory. It works very well for me. This "bookmarking" technique has as many variations as we are individuals, however your bringing it up in an article has better helped me to understand the unconscious dynamics at work.

    And thanks for stopping by at NouveauWriter. I found here a most knowledgeable source of information written by a both creative and altruistic soul whose kindness defines the essential writer; whether writing to entertain, provoke debate or enlighten, has in her heart the ability and the need to give to others that part of her which is most precious.

    Godspeed and Always Be Yourself

  2. I love your ideas--simple, practical, "I can do this" tips (like your "Next Sentence Rule")--that any writer can put into practice right away.

  3. Wow, thanks so much you guys! You have no idea how much I appreciate your kind comments and feedback. I love writing and creating and communicating with people who share that love is such a joyful experience.

  4. simple idea but cool one.

    Usually this problem didn't come to me till now. I think about the books or stories I am writing all the time and don't need a ignition to start !!!!LOL

    with warm regards


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