Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger,

Each writer starts their novel with the intention to finish it. But then, you suddenly get stuck at page 15. Or 25, or 35. You know what to write. But you don’t know how. How is this situation too familiar? Here is a list of 10 tips to maximize chances for finishing your novels (when you are already isolated in a beautiful mountain cottage):


  1. Character sheets – the backbone of the story are your characters, not the plan. Why, because it’s the characters that cause and participate in all of the events you’ve planned. If you haven’t planned your character and started writing, step back and complete a few character sheets. Spend some time with each of the character. You must know what’s going in their mind, how they are going to react in the situations you’ve planned for them, what is their inner drive?
  2. Detailed plan – Writing without a plan is for laymen. Planning not only helps you avoid plot holes, but also add professionalism: this is the place where you insert all the special effects: nostalgic references to what happened before, complex symbolism, etc… Hint: I use Excel for planning.
  3. Description banks – Knowing where the events happen isn’t enough. If your characters are walking in the park, choose the park, research it, jot down names of trees, etc. Do it with every place that you are planning to describe in your novel. It’s not hard and you will thank yourself later. Writing will be flowing once you know exactly what you should put into it.
  4. Dialogue banks – How many times have you written in your plan: “they talked about something?”. The purpose of dialogue is to provide extra information about characters or proceed with the plot. It is also a space filler, but even during space filling you need something to fill the space in. What could your characters talk about? Write all the ideas. Hint: This is the place to think about quirks in the speech of your characters. I often write ready sentences in the dialogue banks or even parts of dialogue that I incorporate later.


  1. Write from beginning to the end. Let’s be honest: if you write all the most entertaining parts first, chances that you will return to the most boring parts later are skim. This is why I suggest writing from beginning to the end. In this way there is always some scene that you are looking forward to writing.
  2. Use chapters. Cutting your novel in small chunks will make it easier to write. Every time you end a chapter you will get the sense of a small victory and feel motivated to continue.
  3. Update word goal frequently. I recommend to use a goal tracker. A free one is available on NaNoWriMo. Seeing how much you’ve written and how much is left also shows you that you are moving towards your goal.


  1. Prepare your soundtrack. Gather all the songs that remind you of the novel that you are currently writing. Write while listening, or if it distracts you, listen and visualize being inside your novel. This will create a mental link between the songs and your novel. When you are out of motivation, simply listen to your playlist. The inspiration will strike!
  2. Visual boards. When you are out of inspiration, you can describe the images that you have put on your visual boards. Best places to create visual boards online are Pinterest and Tumblr.
  3. Read alike. When you are writing romance, you should read romance. Not thrillers. Reading thrillers will distract you and make you want to write a thriller. Try to intake entertainment similar to the theme of your novel. If you are writing elf fantasy, read elf fantasy, etc.