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Posts Tagged ‘wilders’

Welcome to Welton

“So,” I said, “how different does it look?”

My mother surveyed the campus of Welton University and smiled. “This is my cue to say it seems smaller than I remember—but the truth is, it’s much bigger. It used to be all open field over there, behind Cavendish. We had epic snowball wars after second-quarter midterms.”

Her happy reminiscence made me shudder, thinking of the frozen doom that awaited me in a few months. My mother saw it and shook her head. “You’re the one who decided to go to college in Minnesota, Kimberly. It could have been Georgia Psi instead.”

Read the rest at Book View Cafe

* * * * *

There will be one of these coming each weekday for the next little while. (And, confidential to the handful of people for whom those names are familiar: yes. This is exactly what you think it is.)

I should have been doing this a month ago

Untitled Sequel to the De-Titled Urban Fantasy

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2,024 / 120,000

I’m way behind on the plan for this thing, but hey, I wrote tonight. Good for me. I think I’m at the stage where I need to pat myself on the back for that, and not beat myself up for the prior slacking.

Problem was that I just didn’t know how much I should be letting them talk about in this first scene. Problem was solved by letting Kim talk politics. Problem with that is that Kim’s apparently itching to become a rabid activist, about half a novel too soon. Must alter calculations accordingly.

Signs of the Apocalypse: Outlining

I tried to outline a novel precisely once. It was the fourth novel I wrote, and I’m not sure why I tried to outline it. I think it was because the writing community I was involved with at the time had convinced me that this would somehow be a step forward in my craft. The outline bore little resemblance to the novel I wrote, and the novel I wrote bore little resemblance to quality. Whether the outline had anything to do with that, I couldn’t say. I just know that I had to rewrite the novel practically from scratch; to give you an idea of scale, it got thirty thousand words longer, and I know I wrote more new material than that. It was the Amazing Accordioning Rewrite — like a hamster on a wheel, I ran and ran and ran and never got anywhere — and I hope I never have to do its like again.

I am not a writer who outlines.

Except, perhaps, right now.

It’s a very different type of outline. As in, I’m not sitting down to outline because I think I should, attempting to make up the events before I even know what they should be. This is a story where I had some bits that I knew I wanted in it, and those bits spawned other bits, and so on and so forth until I find myself with an assortment of intertwined narrative threads that impinge on one another here and over there and that will affect that other thing. Not only that, but I know where the story’s going. I know the major plot resolution all those threads will lead towards.

What I don’t know is timing. I know the novel will start with a conversation between certain characters, but I’m not sure what stage of the relevant plot thread they should be discussing. Do I need to start at the very beginning of that plot, or would I be better served to leap into the middle of it? I know steps A, B, and E of Plot 4, and that E needs to happen after step M of Plot 2, but what about B? Etc.

So I have again Committed Notecard. I sat down and wrote every plot bitlet I had onto an index card, one bitlet per card. If it involved more than one scene, it went onto multiple cards. (There were fewer cards than I expected, though; it may be there are bitlets I’ve temporarily forgotten, which will return to me later.) Then I went through and put colored dots in the corner, marking which plot thread each card had to do with. Then I sorted them into sequences where I knew their order. The stage I’m at now is integrating the sequences — figuring out whether that development should happen before or after that kablooey, etc. The idea behind the colored dots is that it will allow me to see more easily the frequency of particular plots, and whether I’m having big blocks of one thing or another, so I can decide if I want to interleave them a little bit more.

Is it working? Hard to say. At the very least, I have a record of my bitlets, which is good. It hasn’t told me what to do with the conversation in that first scene, but if need be I’ll go back and change it. I’m just hoping that the exercise will help me time the various threads better. This novel doesn’t have full-blown subplots, precisely, but it does have threads, and (since Karina recently woke me up to my tendency to use weaving metaphors about my writing) I want to make sure they’re all spaced and tensioned correctly. It’ll save me some nightmares in the revision.

A Cautionary Tale

If it should ever happen to any of you that you come up with an idea for a novel when you’re seventeen, write the novel when you’re eighteen, pull something of a strange point of view trick in it, shop it around for a while, thoroughly rewrite it when you’re twenty-one but leave the strange point of view trick in, shop it around some more, sell a different novel and its sequel, come back to the aforementioned novel with its strange point of view trick, and realize that the only way to make the strange point of view trick work is to give one of the characters more point of view scenes earlier in the novel, be warned: this is what you’ll end up with on your library floor.

I’m hoping that having the entire bloody novel laid out, chapter by chapter and scene by scene, in visual format, will help me figure out where I can arrange for the necessary scenes. Because there’s graven in stone, and then there’s what this novel is in my head.

And don’t even get me started on the need for a new title.