2/7/11

Now I Know




I hit the wall awhile back.  Not much longer after my post about regaining momentum, I lost it again.  It’s one of those things that if you don’t seize it by the horns it’s going to take off without you.  I became really scared; what if this becomes some pile of paper in the back of my filing cabinet that was a really “great idea” but never materialized?  I find if I lose the momentum I’m done.  That’s it, it’s no longer a viable script and I can never find the energy or the imagination to pick it up again.  Now if it was solely about finding the “effort” I could try as hard as anyone… problem isn’t the effort, it’s the passion.  The passion goes, the project is a goner. 

You’ll be happy to know that I reincarnated my script into something wonderful on Saturday.  Let me explain the back story first.

I write a story in a very linear, unplanned manner.  It’s the idea I begin with and then I take off with it.  I keep going…then I lose steam.  Why?  Because once the fun is done with the unique idea the world (story world) is old to me, and I’ve got a ton of new literary friends, but they’re yesterday’s news.  I begin to get bored and the passion is gone for those people within that story.

Fantastically I found out that I was en route to becoming passionless about this story (unique idea and all—gasp!) when I noticed the pattern.  I took the time to find out, why was I avoiding my friends in Citizen Vamp land?  Why was I so upset with them?

As you’ll notice I mentioned that loss of passion, but again, why a loss of passion and why now?  A little digging resulted in finding out that the story felt like it was going nowhere and I couldn’t see where my characters would end up… wait, what was that? 

BAM!  Intrigue formed!  Passion regained… where were my characters going?  I tapped my fingertips like Mr Burns in The Simpsons, the lives of my characters in my hands… (Insert evil laugh here.)

Well, I decided now was time for a little planning.  If I happened to go off on some writing tangent then it would be fine if it led to an alternate ending for my characters or stayed on track to the end.  I already had to do this,(months ago) deleting over 15,000 words to redirect the story to a more successful plot, and rein them in from a terrible aside.  The aside was interesting but completely irrelevant to the story… but, enough of that we’ve got to get back to the point.

I developed a plan.  I plotted out each scene (scared they’d all be whacked-out-of-order) and put it in a way that was a visual aid for me.  I put them aside and then took out a piece of paper that I scribbled some intentions for this work on.  What kind of layout/action sequence did I want?  I decided I liked the 3 act structure plus, people are used to following that kind of structure.  So, I looked at what I had, what did I have?  Well, I had two distinct major events with rising/developing action.  Okay, now—where’s this story going?

Well, what’s the major issue?  I identified it and then led on from there to realise that the threat/problem to my main character is actually a very limited and obscure threat.  So, what else is there? 

I went digging around to find some ideas.  I looked into my trusty writer’s pad and found a whole bunch of ideas that had developed both recently and awhile back for this story of mine.  So I found some events and some development scenes that would help.  Finally, scribbled into the corner of one very full page was a hint at what I wanted to include into this novel a couple months ago.  One word: zombies, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.. Oh yeah!  That’s where I was going! 

No, I’m not going to tell you what I’m thinking or where the novel’s going… you’re just going to have to read it—aren’t you?

In the successful process of analyzing scene by scene where I was going I had also already developed the scenes I needed (bare-bone structure) to finish the novel. I also found I knew where my character was going and was able to go back and find out what scenes I needed to change to ensure the story flowed well and worked together to get the plot organized.  In all, I started with 32 scenes all done.  Of those, I have to change, alter or add to 7 of them.  The scenes I needed to add in between and at the end to finish the story number 17.  Of those 17 some may be split into two or three and others may be tied together into one scene. 

When I finished this I realised that I have way more done then I expected out of the whole project.  Plus, having a number to achieve besides ____ words, was really freeing.  I knew I wanted it to number between 80-100,000 words, but 17 pre-determined scenes is much more manageable.    It was Saturday that I mapped out the remainder and I could finally tell myself how it would end.  Just Friday night my husband asked, “Well, how does it end?” in hopes to help pull me out of my writing funk.  I nearly pulled out my hair when I said, “honestly, I don’t know!” 

Now I do.

Stay tuned.  Friday I’m blogging on the top 5 things I can’t write without. You might be surprised to find out what they are, maybe they’ll help you?

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