First: Good luck to all those in the A-Z Challenge. I was a little overwhelmed about taking it on, so I didn’t. Now I’m thinking it’ll still be overwhelming because so many people on my reading list are participating and for April. Google Reader is going to fill up quick! How do I keep up?
I announced last week I won a Gabriela Lessa’s Best Future Manuscript Contest, which means I get the chance to have Gabi be my writing coach.
WIP Coaching. What is it?
A writing coach helps you finish your manuscript by making you stick to deadlines, helping with plotting and tightening your writing and anything else you might need during your writing process.
I had my first Skype session with Gabi this week to discuss CHLOE. AT that time, I was at 21,000 words, have the beginning and middle planned, but not the end. My big question/decision was, what direction did I want to take with CHLOE?
The issue was whether to add a mystery angle to my story, making a suicide into a murder that Chloe discovers? After talking with Gabi, I feel confident saying no to the mystery angle. This story is not a full-blown mystery and so throwing that in sort of complicates not only the genre, but might create too many other issues. I think just talking about it aloud helped figure out things, because I’d never been set on making into a mystery.
So now I know this story is about Chloe’s life and how she finds herself as she’s discovering the horrible things that lead to her brother’s suicide.
That settled. Whew-but I still don’t know the ending yet. I’m writing my ideas down, but not sure exactly what the climax will be.
The next thing Gabi suggested doing was an outline and learning about plotting, because that was one of my big writing issues: plotting and pacing. I can recognize my writing weaknesses, but plotting and pacing issues are not so easy for me to see.
Do you outline before you write?
I don’t, being more of a pantster. When I’ve finished a big chunk of writing, I’ll sort of outline, writing down the order of things. Then I might look at how to change the sequence, but half my ideas don’t come until after I’ve started writing.
These are my next things to accomplish. (Along with continuing to write)
*Outlining. I tried setting up an old-fashioned outline in Word. Why is it so darn hard? I’ve given up and decided to do it in Excel. I assume every author does thing differently, so my outline will be sparse—as in the general idea of a chapter/scene.
*Learning about plotting. I’m actually going to get some books and read about how you should plot novels. I found one book on the Marshall Plan—that is so not for me. But I’ll also look at the three-act structure too. Of course I won’t write according to these ideas, but I’ll probably get my story written and then see how it fits into these plot structure ideas. It may then help me see my problems and issues.
Anyways, I’m curious about other writers. For those planners out there, do you carefully follow a plotting style? And for the pantsters, after you’ve written your story, do you analyze your plot according to a certain plotting style?