Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Merry-Go-Round Isn't Always Merry

Hi, I'm Roxann, and I'm a plotter.  (Please hold your gasps.)

As I've mentioned before, I wasn't always a plotter.  I began, as most do, as a panster, and then evolved.  Or devolved, as some might believe.  Now I'm to the point where I MUST plot.  If I don't know where the story is going, I panic.

In the column on the right is the progress meter I used to keep track of my writing.  My goal was to finish the first three chapters of a book I intend to propose to my editor, along with another story.  The meter shows I reached my goal of 14080 words, even surpassing it.  When all was said and done, the final total was 15,510 words that came in at 48 pages

The next step in the process for me is writing the synopsis.  The story was plotted...or at least I thought it was...but I had a feeling something wasn't quite right.  The story was "off" and I feared it could easily come in too short.  Not a good thing.  Or wouldn't be smooth.  An even worse thing.  I wanted to be able to hand in a proposal I felt was solid, so it was back to the drawing board to find what went wrong where.

I again  pulled out my plotting boards (new ones that can be seen below), along with an overview of the story and characters that I'd previously sent to my editor.  I was right.  There was a small difference, and that made a much bigger difference in how the story would play out to the end.  Once I realized it yesterday morning, I spent the rest of the day shuffling scenes around, until they flowed from a solid opening to a hook that I hoped would grab a reader's attention (the first three chapters), then go on through conflicts to be solved and finally coming to a satisfying HEA.  Making the changes also involved new writing of half of a scene and moving another to later in the timeline.  But they worked.

Writing sometimes is easy, but more often involves staving off panic that can be caused by one, very small slip-up.  If plotting and correcting things in the early days of writing helps keep my heart from hammering in my chest and my fingers from fumbling on the keyboard, while my brain calls out for help, then it's what I have to do.  It works.  At least for the time being.

An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.  ~Gustave Flaubert

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