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

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 

Writing is NOT a Hobby?

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is for me to abandon my writing to do something else — surf the social media sites, work on a bathroom remodel, write a presentation for an upcoming class, watch the news.  I have a wonderful new regimen for writing and it was working great, until I interrupted it with finishing my presentation for the class I am teaching in the fall.  Granted, the presentation needed to be finished, but during MY WRITING TIME set aside specifically for ME???????

I think I get so caught up in necessities and expectations that I sacrifice the one thing that means the most to me — my writing time.  So how is it that I can so easily give up my writing time to use for other purposes.  Well, if I knew that, I could stop it (couldn’t I?).  It makes me wonder whether writing is all that important to me after all.  How can I so easily sacrifice it to the banality of the day-to-day.

The reality of my writing life is that maybe, just maybe, I still don’t look at it as a career.  So often we are raised to believe that any artistic expression is a hobby, not a career.  As a hobby, it becomes secondary to the responsibilities of the day-to-day routine.  So I think I still have that in my mind, at the heart of the matter.  My writing, while I love it, is still a hobby to me and not a career.  So, how do I change that notion?  How do I reprogram my belief system to accommodate writing as a my career?  After all, I was a professional technical writer for most of my adult life.  Why is writing a novel any different? Hmmm.  I will have to ponder on that some.

 

-AH

Also posted on my other site at http://www.andreahunter313.wordpress.com.

Writing Prompts

Even though I am working on a novel, I sometimes want to change the scenery, so to speak, and write something different.  My intention is to keep the prose fresh by exercising other types of writing. Yesterday was such a day.  I was running through my twitter feed and found a writing prompt from @prompt_fairy (mahalo, by the way).  The prompt was for a flash fiction, but I used it in a poem.  It’s a little dark, not my usual style, but I enjoyed writing it.  You can read it here if you’re so inclined.

So, in my usual early morning writing session today, I put down 836 words, including the beginnings of a new subplot.  This is why, for me, writing outside of the main project once in awhile helps expand my creative flow. What “devices” do you use to increase your creative flow?

-AH

 

Subplot Frustrations

I’ve been working on my novel this week. Yay!!  It feels really great to be writing and getting so much done.  However, it can be very frustrating writing 2 or 3 plot lines that must somehow coincide and be resolved at the end of the story.  This frustration likely stems from me fighting with myself.  But it is still very real.

I start writing about the main characters and forget that I have a couple of subplots going that are important to the story. Then I feel like I am back-tracking when I focus on writing the subplots. I know they are necessary to further the story and create a more rich novel. But I feel like I will never move forward. This feeling is ridiculous, of course, because each word written furthers the storyline. Nevertheless, I feel that way.

So, I thought about writing each plot line separately, then weaving them together. Not wanting to spend too much time on it if it is a crazy idea, I still thought it might be worth a try. Well, let me tell you, as soon as I started that tack, I knew I shouldn’t. There’s way too much to remember and trying to weave them together after the fact would be even more frustrating. These plot lines happen concurrently, so writing them separately is foolish.

I will just have to realize that, as frustrating as it might be, I am not losing ground when I return to a chapter or scene and add in subplot storyline. Either that, or I will have to learn to write the plotlines concurrently. Truth is, this experience of writing my first novel is a major learning experience. And, overall, I am having so much fun doing it.

-AH

Initially published on my concurrent blog site at 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)