By now I’m sure you’re all racing along in the land of NaNoWriMo: tap tap tappety tap tap. Your little fingers tripping across your keyboard. What a blessed sound that is!
But, wait, you’ve stopped? Why?
Is it because the bit you have to write next is a tad too complicated (how does a nuclear reactor work?) and/or requires research (when a car explodes do the windows go flying out? how far? what does it sound like exactly?) or is too squishy (you got to the love scene, didn’t you?) or you’re not in the mood (writing journeys is boring).
Rather than come to a grinding halt why not square bracket it?
By which I mean do this:
Janice Lardano got out of the car and stared pensively at the nuclear reactor. It made her nervous to go in there but go in there she must.
[scene in nuclear reactor]
As Janice left the nuclear reactor she saw a strange man sprinting away from the parking lot.
As Janice picked the bits of car from her hair she became aware of a beautiful man looking at her. His teeth gleamed.
Janice finished buttoning her blouse, picked up her purse, and looked back at the gleaming beauty. It would be hard to leave him, but she must. The continued survival of the world was at stake!
[journey in which Janice meets wise woman and saves world]
Janice smiled, reaching out to hold his gleaming hand. Sometimes life really was perfect.
Added bonus: when you get stuck you can go back and fill them in. I also use them for research [how much does mercury weigh?] or for really generic stuff [something else needed here] [they talk and discover they like each other] [denouement] or for instructions or notes to self [make this bit better] [she’s supposed to be angry here she just sounds annoyed].1
There you have it: the glory of square brackets. [Ending could be punchier.]
- Though now I use Scrivener I use square brackets a lot less. [↩]