Separating Plot Lines

It’s no big surprise that I am still struggling with the middle of my WIP.  It seems no matter where I go with it, I dislike it, scrap it, then write something else (usually some maudlin poetry) just to keep the fires lit.  This vicious cycle has gone on for a few months now.  Needless to say, I am tired of it.

Angel Orchids

Being the determined person that I am, though, I refuse to give up.  I’m fully invested int his project and I cannot just let it go.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading and I think I may have come up with a solution.  I generally write in a linear fashion, creating the manuscript as I go. (Even though I have already know the ending, I haven’t written it yet.  It’s only documented in long-hand notes.)  I do this because it gives me a sense of clarity.  One day, I discovered this nice little feature of Scrivener which I never fully utilized before:  You can write out a chapter entirely in scenes.  Okay, admittedly, I have paid more attention to the writing than the finer points of the software I use, but that’s for another post.

This nifty feature, when selected in the compilation, will print the scenes in the chapter AND it allows for easy reorganizing.  Earlier this week, while rewriting a recent scene, the lightbulb went on: write the plot lines separately, then worry about weaving them together later!  What I’ve come up with is simple.  I created a folder called Plots.  Within this folder are the sub folders containing the main plot and the subplots.  Within those will be the scenes that formulate the individual plot lines.

I think, after all is written out, these scenes can be moved into chapters and weaved together more effectively.  I can also fine tune each plot without having to search for it within the chapters.  I’m hoping that this approach will offer me the clarity I need to survive the middle of my WIP and bring the project to fruition.

I have high hopes that this will get me back on track!  I’ll keep you posted.

-AH

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Perfectly Placed Eye Lashes

I have a distinct appreciation for make-up, eye make-up to be exact.  I can get drawn in by the flawless application of color and lashes.  I look closely at the details. I focus on the closeups to see how the color was applied, where the shadows are, and how the lashes blend into the eyeliner.

smokeyeye1What has all this talk about eye make-up got to do with writing?  Nothing, on the surface; but if you think about it, it’s the same as writing a great story.  You draw your readers in with the flawless application of plot and characters.  Your readers will fall into the perfection of the scenes.  As a writer, I read other authors closely.  I scour the details, focus on the events, how the action is applied, and how the subplots blend into the main theme.  The meat of the story is in the details. It’s how I learn to write better.  It’s how I understand the structure.  The finishing touches, the satisfaction of the ending, reminds me of perfectly placed eyelashes.

Character Building

I have been working on this novel for years now and, every time I hit boulder in the road, I realize I have missed something.  Likely the reason for hitting the boulder.  This most recent boulder revealed that my MC has not been defined well enough to cause her to be passionate about this quest of hers.  I ask myself why she would be so willing, eager, to go along with the journey she must follow and I have discovered that there is no answer — in the book, that is.

So, now I have to figure out where to put this information and how to write it into the story.  Do I do a flashback or give her a present-day situation that expresses her interest and belief in the plot line?  After all, this is not exactly a normal plot line.  She is experiencing some situations that are somewhat paranormal.  Why would she believe in the paranormal?  Maybe I need to make a world where the paranormal is part of the normal?  Or maybe her world includes the paranormal?

While I grapple with yet another snag, I feel some excitement to the process.  After all, I am learning what will be needed on my next project.   And, for me, these questions indicate that I am on the right track.  I think that if I weren’t coming across these little discrepancies, the story would have no continuity.  As strange as that sounds on the surface, when looked at in depth, I am writing a plot line that fits my characters.  Thus it lets me know when those characters haven’t been as well-defined as they should be.

As a writer, we know our characters inside and out, backwards and forwards.  If we are smart, we have written their biographies.  And I did that for all the major characters.  The issue comes when we realize they are in the throes of the plot and we have forgotten to tell the audience how and why they are handling the given situation in a particular way.  For example, I know my MC is a determined and focused.  She is not easily deterred.  She also has “the sight” as her guide calls it. This means she understands and sees the world in a different way than most people.  But how does my audience know that?  So, I am thinking of adding in a dream sequence or a flashback to exhibit her unique perspective.  This should help the reader understand her later reactions to the plot turns.

Back to work…

-AH

Back on Track

In the midst of the day-to-day, I am back on track writing in the early morning hours. We are experiencing our usual September humid-heat wave, so it’s been really warm in the mornings. This morning, I took my laptop out to the lanai and wrote as the sun came up. Very inspiring!

While I am trying to flesh out one of the subplots of my novel, I finally feel like I am heading in the right direction. The main plot is starting to take shape and I understand what needs to happen.

I had a realization this morning that changed everything for my MC. She will be able to make more sense of her main goal despite the chaos happening around her. I’m feeling so much better about the middle of my WIP now. Phew!

Back on track — writing and plot. Yes!!

-AH

Also posted on my other blog site at https://andreahunter313.wordpress.com 

Beat Yourself Bloody Writing, Plot Resolutions Will Come

I have been struggling with the “middle” part of my book for some time.  Spending a lot of time reworking the outline time and again.  Differing plot lines, subplots, new characters.  Nothing seemed to work.   Then, yesterday morning, I woke up and there it was: a new subplot that weaves in nicely, adds tension and suspense, resolves the forward movement of the main plot, and is perfectly legitimate to the story line.  Wow.  I emitted a sigh of relief and felt the surge of refreshed excitement.

As writers, we can be battered by our stories.  It’s no wonder that first novel is often never finished. You hit a wall and bang your head against it over and over till the blood is streaming down your face and you writhe in pain.  Then, without notice or ceremony, the wall just suddenly crumbles and the view beyond opens up new possibilities and resolutions! Graphic, yes; true, for me it’s a resounding YES! Fortunately, I have some great support and I am not one to give up.

Of course, you have to go through all this pain to allow the resolution to formulate. For me, some of this new subplot contains small elements of some ideas I came up with while outlining, repeatedly. So all that battering is not futile.  Just painful. You think you’re never going to come up with another decent idea, then wham! The idea hits you over the head and you feel better!  At least I do.  I know that all the work is worthwhile and not every idea will be great.  But it does keep your juices flowing so you can get to the good ideas.

So, be battered, be in pain, but don’t give up.  The writing is important and necessary.  The book is important and necessary.  So, stick with it and reap the benefits.  No matter what, continuing the writing keeps the idea mill working and the rewards will pay out!

-AH

(Also posted on my other blog: https://andreahunter313.wordpress.com)