J-A’s Writing Process – Step 4 – Plotting

You know, writing about your writing process isn’t as easy as you’d think!  However, I’ve found that there does seem to be a bit of a structure I tend to follow.

After getting my story arc, I sit down and start writing the key plot events that have to happen to get me from each point in my arc (ie from the beginning to the middle bit, from the middle bit to the end).  I use what I’ve learnt from my characters to determine not only the events that happen in the ‘big picture’ of the world, but also what happens for them personally.  Sometimes I’ll do a ‘plot event’ list for their personal journey as well as for the ‘world’ journey.

There are lots of theories on what plots should be like, but I follow a simple one of ‘there’s a problem, someone has to fix it, someone will try to stop them from fixing it and things will get worse until they get resolved at the end’.  Once again, I’ll think about this on both the world and the individual level.

I find that this is really helpful in terms of reducing my panic about whether or not I really have a story.  I just wish that I would remember that when the writing demons emerge!

Wonders Never Cease …

I’m not sure why, but I found myself thinking today about some of the places in my novel where I might have got it right.  You know what I mean – those moments where you’ve been slaving away getting words onto paper and then you find yourself in the middle of something that thrums.  Even though it’s first draft and is still needing refinement, you know you’ve hit on something that opens the heart of the book.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it makes it all worth it.

Today, I’ve been considering of some of those times, and I’m thinking maybe, after some considerable hard work and perserverence, I might just pull this off after all.

Sorting out Point of View in the Heat

Due to the heat, I took it easy on myself and set an easy task.  I looked at whether the point of view chapters of my book balanced out.  I have written a summary of the chapter/scene on post-it notes, a different colour for each, and have stuck them around the wall.  This is an idea I got from a blog post by an author called Kaye Dacus that flashed up on the WordPress suggested posts thing. 

It’s a very long line!  Quite satisfying.  I’m also a bit awestruck – did all that really come from my head?

Have also discovered a disadvantage to this technique.  Some of the post-it notes keep falling off the wall!  There had to be a drawback, didn’t there?

The 2nd Draft isn’t always a 2nd Draft…

… or at least that’s what I’ve found.  This is because I see where I need to stuff and have to start writing.  That is, I see where I need an extra chapter to balance out point of view or where I need to work in more of a transition or resolution.  This is all first draft.  So in actual fact, it’s not a 2nd draft until I’ve gone over all of these bits and pieces (which won’t be done til the end, as I like to finish it before going back over things). 

So really, this is a 1st and a half draft!

Moving into the Cool

No, not that kind of cool! 

It’s so hot at the moment (early summer in November), and the problem is that I don’t like the heat.  Therefore, no creativity is happening here.  I could try turning it to my advantage by incorporating the heat into my novel, but just the thought of it makes me feel even hotter. 

I could move into the air conditioned dining room, but then that would be as much of a mess as the study is, and mess clouds my head and prevents creativity, not to mention getting on my nerves.  It’s nice having at least one room that’s clean.  And we’re back at the start – no creativity happening.  Grrr.

So, this weekend, I’ll be off to a nice cool cafe and then a nice cool library!  Hope you’re all pretty cool too.

2nd draft blues

Hmm.  Having read over some of my manuscript, I can see that there’s a lot to do.  I have to keep reminding myself that I knew this would happen.  My aim was to get the first draft out without worrying about craft.  And some of it’s OK.  Or will be, after I’ve worked it over.