Create five or six candybar scenes and use them to keep you moving forward

First, let me define a "candy-bar" scene. It's one that you're just itching to write -something sweet enough that you can dangle it on a stick in front of yourself so that you can say, "When I've done these next three chapters, I'll get to write that one.

If you're doing fantasy, maybe one of your candy-bar scenes will be the one where the hero discovers for the first time that he can control some magical force or element . . . but that he can't yet control it very well. You can just imagine the trouble you're going to cause for him, and how much fun you're going to have causing it.

If you're writing mainstream, maybe the thing you're most itching to put on paper is the moment when your main character discovers that she isn't alone in the world -that somewhere out there, she has a half-sister . . . and now all she has to do is find her.

If you're writing romance, maybe the hot-and-heavy scenes are the ones you can use for candy-bars. (Or maybe not. Every time I write a sex scene, I feel like my mom is looking over my shoulder, saying, "And just where did you learn that?")

Make sure your candy-bar scenes are spread out through the book, not all clumped together. Write down a single sentence for each of them. Don't allow yourself to do anymore than that, or you'll lose the impetus to move through the intervening scenes.

Even if you have your ending in place and great candy-bar scenes to lure yourself onward, though, there are things that can keep you from finishing. If you're still having trouble, check out these next few suggestions and see if any bells start ringing.

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