How To Not Finish A Story

This is a rerun from my old WEBLAHG, but some things don’t change much.

  • Sit down.
  • Turn on computer.
  • Open file.
  • Think.
  • Phone rings. Answer phone. Talk to caller.
  • Other phone rings. Answer phone. Talk to both callers at once. Keep them both talking after they’ve tried to get off. Let them hang up.
  • Think.
  • Write a line.
  • Go back and change seven lines earlier in the story.
  • Phone rings. Talk to caller.
  • Think.
  • Play Solitaire.
  • Play Free Cell.
  • Play Minesweeper.
  • Write a paragraph. Move it. Move it back. Move it somewhere else.
  • Go back and delete an earlier paragraph.
  • Phone rings. Talk to caller.
  • Open an earlier version of the file and cut three paragraphs from it and paste them into the new file.
  • Think.
  • Daughter and grandson come in. Play with grandson. Make lunch and eat with family. Play with grandson. Talk with daughter. Play with grandson.
  • Think.
  • Play Solitaire, Free Cell, Minesweeper.
  • Write.

Doesn’t sound like a formula for success, but I actually did finish the story I’ve been working on. It isn’t a technique I would ever recommend for anyone else, but it’s the one I’ve had to learn to work with. I think I sort of sneak up on it, and finish it while it thinks I’m not paying attention to it. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Sneak up on a story and write it while it isn’t looking.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “How To Not Finish A Story

  1. Beth Camp

    December 23, 2013 at 8:31pm

    Your litany of events while writing makes me very happy I write so early in the morning — well before any one in the world is awake! But I confess to playing Free Cell at the drop of a hat when I’m at the computer. Kudos still on getting the writing done (and congrats on your NaNo achievement). I’m pulled away from my wip to work on marketing (argh!) and converting Standing Stones to e-book formats. May you have a good writing year ahead.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      December 23, 2013 at 10:43pm

      Oh, yes, marketing! So discombobulating, but so satisfactory when it works and people buy and enjoy books! 🙂 I hope your year is also a good one, and I’m very happy to have “met” you in the BBT Cafe.

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  2. Jo

    December 25, 2013 at 12:10am

    Ha ha haaaa! I thought it was just me – get to work! 😀

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      December 25, 2013 at 8:14am

      I plan to plunge back into my writhing pit o’ work as soon as the holidays are over. 😀

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  3. Jen Christopherson

    March 1, 2014 at 6:03pm

    I write and market my books the same way. It’s a blessed miracle that I get anything done!

    I must check my email, I’m down from 4000 to 2215!!!!

    Oh, yeah, and I worked on something for my book. Wrote about 250 words today… My goal is 1000 a day…

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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