Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Working on it April 24, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 6:36 pm
Tags: , ,

No rewriting yet, I’m still working out what I’ve got and what to do with it- this is my first rewrite and I don’t want to have to go through too many drafts than I need to to get it right!

It might not work at all, but I’m trying to find a system that I can use not just on this book but future books to be able to write at least two a year while still working full time in my too demanding job to pay the bills. A few weeks getting started on the story, a week (or two if I can get it) of annual leave intensively writing first draft, then another three or four months or howver long it takes rewriting and tweaking. Sub and repeat!

I’m going to see if this rewrite method suggested in an online workshop “Can This Manuscript Be Saved” I did last year with Susan Meier helps. I wasn’t really ready for the workshop at the time, as my WiP then was beyond even her excellent teaching skills to save!

She suggested-
1. Read the whole book straight through in one fast go, without trying to fix as you read.  Just look at STORY.
Create a story paragraph, a one paragraph pitch. ‘See’ the story’s premise, goal, motivation and conflict at a glance,
2. Read through a second time, looking at the SCENES, making notes as you read. Create a storyboard (I’m doing mine in a free program called Text Block Writer, some writers use a physical storyboard with post-it notes, like this one by Fiona Harper). ‘See’ all your scenes, which will show where your book slows down and which scenes cause the slow down,
3. Rethink story and rearrange scenes
4. Then and only then, rewrite.

I’ve got the first read done, strengthened the pitch paragraph, so it’s onto stage 2- making notes on each scene.

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2 Responses to “Working on it”

  1. Eileen Says:

    Interesting about the “post it” software. I’ve heard of similar suggestions for plotting out the novel using note cards for each scene. I understand the allure of using the computer program but for me there’s something necessary about being able to see it all at once even if I cover an entire wall with post-its/ note cards. I’m also a big fan of the tactile. 🙂

  2. waitingforthecall Says:

    Yeah, I can see that. When I have a writing room… Or even a cupboard. My problem is I live in a tiny house with a big husband and four cats, and I have no writing space to call my own. I write sitting crosslegged on the bed with my laptop literally on my lap. I think those post-it’s wouldn’t last too long, especially once the youngest cat Jeremy Boxer discovered how much fun pulling them off was! This program is the closest thing I can find to the real thing- lets me shuffle things around, change the colour of the post-it and the text, write as much as I want then shrink it down. I can’t imagine storyboarding in advance of writing, but I think using it now to get the first draft in order it will be a fab tool.


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