This week I continue to be carried away with plotting my WIP (work in progress) when I was supposed to be figuring out birthdays and past employment for all of my characters. Oops! But this was more fun. I decided to have 40 chapters this time. The last time I sort of randomly chose 20 chapters, but I had 3 scenes per chapter and thusly each chapter felt quite long. This time I am going to have one scene and one sequel per chapter and hopefully this book will be shorter and faster moving. So I wrote a kind of chart that said:
And on and on until
Well I went along happily reading my 26 single spaced pages of idea notes for this story that I finally printed after oh probably 3 years of accumulation and I was filling in quite a few chapters with good stuff that was sort of in the order that I wanted when I remembered something. Some of these ideas would go into scenes and some of them would go into sequels. Hmmm. So I went back and wrote:
And so on… This was all well and good, but with a wee bit of embarrassment I must admit that sequels are a fairly (cough cough)…completely new concept for me. Yes I wrote Overturned under the guidance of a writing instructor and yes she kept telling me that I needed to make my characters pause and breath and react and think after each death defying escape. But she didn’t tell me that these were called sequels. At least if she did I had blocked her out and was weeping over some tiny complaint she had because my character had once again (for the 12th time) escaped rabid pagutus and was fleeing madly across the desert. I can be ridiculous at times, so perhaps she did. But to make the long short. I put Scene and Sequel after each chapter but had forgotten precisely what went into the construction of a sequel despite the fact that I purchased Dwight Swain’s “Techniques of the Selling Writer” and actually read the entire thing even with the teeny tiny print.
So I looked at the Snowflake guys blog and what do you know! He had some detailed info about scenes and sequels. And so I went back through my document and did this.
And all of that took a very long time but I finally finished yesterday just as my 3 cyclones were beginning to rampage at 7:30 am. But then this morning as I was preparing to write this blog entry I peeked at the other writer’s blog to see if he had any instruction regarding Scenes and Sequels and thus I beheld this:
Setback or Scene Answer
Now these are very similar. Both of these writers obviously studied under people who studied under people who studied under Dwight Swain who wrote “Techniques of the Selling Writer” which was published long long long before I was born. But thoughts have evolved slightly with different instructors and now what am I supposed to do. Whose slighly different version of the same thing should I place beneath my chapter headings in my handy dandy outline! Uuuurg!
Did you notice that this seems like an awful lot of work for something that is supposed to be creative and fun. I did to. That is why I didn’t do this before. And it is why I was only able to learn this lesson the hard way. By writing my rough draft of Overturned in 5 months and having to revise it for over 4 years until it became what I had wanted to write.
I noticed in one of my creative writing classes that I wrote higher quality work when under creative constraints. Shakespearean Sonnets, Haikus, that sort of thing. Why why why did I not realize that the same would be true when I sat down to write a novel? But now I know. And that is why you will quite possibly be bored into fits of maniacal weeping over all of these blog entries regarding planning and plotting and figuring out character motivation. But Mom, I know that you will love me anyway and so that is what you will be getting. So live with it! At least you’re not the one who has to decide which definition of a sequel to put under your chapter headings. I knew that would make you happy.