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On Writing - Triple X Device To Keep The Flow With Author Silvia Hartmann

by Silvia Hartmann

Writing tip to keep writing and not get bounced out because you can't think of a word

Writing Tips With Silvia Hartmann


The Triple X Device To Keep The Flow


  • The first commandment in writing is to KEEP THE FLOW.

The events flow and they unfold, like a movie runs. You can slow it down if you need to, or speed it up; what one shouldn't do is to stop whilst this is happening, because you lose your relative position and the whole thing goes out of sync.

If this happens, you have to fight your way back to where you were and pick it up again and that's time consuming, difficult and often, even when you manage to do it, the flow is still patchy and you get minute jumps - like when you stick an audio tape together with sticky tape when it's broken, you can fix it that way to hear the song but you can always tell.

Sometimes, things happen fast and WORDS go missing or I can't find the right word right away. This can also happen with names or places, spellings; and I have learned if I stop then in the middle of it and try and remember what that thing was called, I get one of those "bounce out jumps" in the story.

So what I do these days is to keep on going and insert a place holder.

Instead of stopping to think, I just type XXX and move on.

That way, I can keep writing and stay with the events, and I can go back later and do a search for those XXX place holders and spend as much time as I need to in order to look up the word or ask someone else if they know what the devil an XXX is called.

I've just written a bit where this has happened twice, and here is how that reads, just as I wrote it:

We are the arrow, they are the target, but this target is drawing the arrow towards it, inviting it to come, encouraging the forward movement and doubling the XXX - a familiar feeling, a disconcertingly familiar feeling but then we recognise it and a cry goes up amongst us - this is a union!

I am so overwhelmed by that realisation that my forward momentum nearly falters, but by now, the XXX from the others below has become a strong tide that pulls me on, nonetheless, and keeps me right on track, even though for just a moment, my own will had quite gone.

The first occurrence is "velocity", and the second occurrence is "attraction".

I got that pretty much right away after going back to those two paragraphs and it's a breeze to insert them where the place holders are.

The triple X is a really good device in any writing to keep the flow, not just in vampire novels. It's handy on days when I'm not on top forms, such as today; and what I also find is that when I first start, I might need to use it, like I did just now, but as I get into it, the words appear quite magically then and arrange themselves as they should without it.

It's funny really.

The concept of "Even Flow" really does apply to everything, even to writing novels. And it doesn't just make for a better end result, it gives a guideline and something to aim for - to be able to write in Even Flow, not to have to go back and think about what these words should be, but have them be there, right away and without delay.

That's how it should be, and this place holder device is a good set of training wheels towards that end.


PS - As an aside, I just noticed that "velocity" and "attraction" are both PHYSICS terms. I had a solid E in physics all through school and am highly "reversed" on the topic and all it entails. Fascinating to think that trauma energy system reversals even manage to manifest in breaking the flow when you're trying to write a good vampire novel!

Gee ...

It's all connected ... :-)



  • Triple X Device To Keep The Flow © Silvia Hartmann 2005

  • Excerpt from Vampire Solstice

  by Silvia Hartmann
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