Making Plot Decisions

Day 27 of my writing and drawing challenge

Here’s a video update where I’m drawing a potential setting for my novel. At first, I sketched in a few characters for scale. It got me thinking about coming back through these drawings (in a later challenge, no doubt) and drawing in the characters!

I’d have to design them first. I haven’t figured out the details of how they dress or do their hair. Those will be decisions for later, after the more important ones have been made.

My focus this time is just the settings because I find those especially helpful in helping me visualize scenes while writing descriptions.

As for the writing itself, I’ve been going through the story in passes.

To recap:

The first pass through the story I did was just reading the draft, because I hadn’t read it in a while. I had just been adding to it without reading it for months.

The second pass was creating a new outline, and here’s how I did that:

  • I started with a timeline, listing month one, month two, month three, and so on for the (in-story) passage of time. And listing all the main plot points that from the draft. They were written, but still needed work.
  • Then, I began a round of Q&A, where I’d go through each plot point and ask myself, what I didn’t like about it. What needed to be added, why the different characters did what they did – all sorts of missing details.

    It was easy to first frame them all as questions. But I also added answers as best as I could, you know, whatever hints of an answer I had. So the second pass was just basically doing that for every plot point until I reached the end of the story.

My questions and complaints took thousands of words to write! It became really clear why I’d had this vague sense of dissatisfaction with parts of the story.

While brainstorming possibilities, it became clear that any of these answers would probably be fine. There isn’t one best way to solve this problem. This is my story and I can kind of do whatever I want! As long as it sent me in an interesting direction, I could already sene that the story was getting better.

It was reassuring. It wasn’t about choosing the best answer, but delving into the plot points until I found them convincing.

Most of this detail is probably not going to make it into the final book – I don’t know which parts will and which parts won’t, but all of them are getting me closer to being able to tell the story well because I believe it.

After Q&A-ing my way to the end of the story (with the amount of clarity tapering off toward the end since the answers would depend on earlier story beats), I started on my third pass through the story.

I just went right back to the beginning of the plot point Q&A, and read my answers, asked followup questions, and answered whatever.questions I could.

At some point, I will have to stop analyzing and get drafting. More background detail isn’t always better. Hopefully, I’ll catch myself when I get to the point where I’m just outlining and outlining as a form of procrastination.

But I haven’t got to that point yet!

Here’s a nice little picnic spot for my characters!

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