Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Great December Writer's Challenge: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Good day all! Firstly I wish to apologize for my absence yesterday. My data ran out due to multiple failed attempts at downloading novel planning software.

Yes. The pantser has gone plotty. More on that later.

Anyway... I want to apologize for the fact this and any other posts until I can buy data will be in this pale grey. My Blackberry seems most unwilling to specify text color.

Finally, but first on my mind is a thank you to Nancy for my newest reward. It really made me feel special.

Right. Admin's done. Let's get back to the post.

So why have I been trying to download a story planner? It's kind of a good news bad news sort of thing.

I've been struggling for days, wondering why it felt like I was starting with a new book instead of finishing Doorways. This has been bothering me for days until I lost patience with myself and sat down with the thought the entire day.

Nothing leapt out at me, except for a well worn notebook. This was the notebook I used to write random scenes that I had edited out of the second version of the story.

I'd completely forgotten about it, so imagine my surprised I was when it struck me that these scenes fit into the version I'm busy with.

But I still needed to figure out where they were supposed to go. So I started looking at the bigger picture. There I saw two things. One, I more or less know where books 3 and 4 are going, but that book 2 has nowhere to go except to book 3. Everyone I know hates a filler, so the thought of me writing one is far from appealing.

Two, if I looked at the book schematically, I should have noticed a huge problem. I'd been writing the book toward two climaxes- both of which are equally huge. This can be good, but not if there's an equivalent to a book in between. This scenario reminds me of the new version of the movie Casino Royale. Good, but lost quality because of that entire part in Venice. To my mind, the climax had already taken place, but I was forced to sit through a long bit of waffle until the story reached the "real" climax. Arguably the sequal was better off because of it.

And that, I realized, was where the similarity ended. See I had this awesome character who was going to die...

I won't say anything more, except to say that that character alive will make book 2 awesome.

All this made me realize that anything after climax one has to be moved either to earlier in the book or to the sequal...

The good news? Guess up to where I have written.

The bad? The fact that I've finished my first rough draft hit so fast that I don't feel like celebrating. I really wished I thought of this before.

The ugly? Imagine a puzzle of thousands of words and images that I have to whip into shape.

What about you? Ever get broadsided by the knowledge that your story was finished? How is your writerly life going?


  1. I know what you mean about how changing the ending affects everything. Good luck with it all.

  2. I've been thinking about my book, and wondering that about my plot; is there more than just one book there, maybe? Do I stop to re-evaluate or just keep going? I've decided to go on, but that thought is still there.

    Good luck with your books!

  3. I have a hard time ending. I tend to leave the ending open for another book. haha!

    Great job on finished and hope that the editing goes smoothly!

  4. LOL! It sounds like it's like the anticlimax afetr the exam, I guess. Maybe you won't feel elated until you get that letter back from the agent saying YES. :O)

  5. WOW, I have never been broadsided like that haha I'm a plotter. But really, take the time to feel what it's like to finish :) I think that feeling fuels writers down the road. Don't let it fall to the side just because you know there's more work to do. THERE IS ALWAYS more work (sad truth!)

    So, congratulations!

    From reading your post, I think you probably made a really smart decision! And I think that kinda decision is super hard to make :) Changing the vision you had that you LOVED. I've had to do it a few times, but it's always for the better.

  6. AAAAAARGH my stupid computer deleted my reply. (>_<)

    Anyway... Let's try again.

    Thank you Patti. :-)

    I know what you mean Golden. If I write a stand-alone and the thought occurs to me that I might want a sequal, I would finish the story first as well. The thought of rewriting chunks in order to include a story arch sounds like too much work to do on a thought that occurred to me once or twice. In short, good call. :-)

    Hahaha Patricia I know what you mean. Once, I tried a stand-alone. I wrote two chapters before realizing that the story would be better served if it had a prequal. I wrote three chapters of that when I realized that both would be better served by a story in between and a sequal to the last. Sigh... Thanks lots for your good wishes.

    I think you might be right, Madeleine. Still, I suspect that I'll be thrilled when the rewrite is done.

    Haha Jessica I sometimes wish that I was a plotter (to avoid broadsides), but my creative mind is not nearly linear enough. It was a difficult decision to make, but once I made it, I fell in love with the idea. After all, I get to play around with an awesome character for an extra book...


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