…breaking it down and building it up again
Here’s another novel update, where I focus on the writing piece of my project and shared some recent drawings with magical and fantasy themes.
My focus was listing out the scenes in the second act of my novel and troubleshooting them.
For every scene, I need to know some pretty basic things like, well, what happens.
And usually I do, even though there are occasional gaps in the details.
The next question is why each of those things happens. There needs to be a good reason for it to seem plausible and work well with the plot. So, I’ve been asking “why” that for every plot point.
I found that usually, I already have an answer, or even many answers. So, it becomes a matter of picking the best answer, or strengthening it.
On occasion, I’ve had a plot point, reason, or thought process for one of the characters that didn’t rung true. To make it stronger, I’ve been following a process similar to outlining, except I’m creating an outline from chapters I’ve already written, rather than before my first draft.
The outline is made up of the plot points I pulled from my draft and my brainstormed answers to all the “why” questions.
Since scrolling through my giant manuscript can be overwhelming, I started a new blank document to have a relatively uncluttered place to work. I made a timeline to order the outline and started off with some freewriting about my impressions of my recent read-through of the draft, before going into the Q&A.
It was interesting to see the range of questions and doubts I had about the story. I had some complaints about aspects of the world building, or a character’s personality, the tone in some places – a jumble of things that felt vaguely off. It was good to identify them and tease them apart.
Between brainstorms, I often walked away because I didn’t know what to do next. A day later, the solution occurred to me while I was in the middle of something else, so I ran to capture it via voice memo.
That was encouraging! It’s convinced me that it’s worthwhile to just identify these problems, list them out all on one page where I can see them, and then give myself time to go off and have ideas.
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What do you do when you’re stuck on a project?