It’s Wednesday somewhere, but Thursday here (and Australia Day – go to a virtual BBQ blogfest at Lynda’s blog).
I’ve succeeded at my ROW80 goals to spend at least 2 hours a day on my WIP. In fact, I’ve over-achieved by far. I made the most of having my daughter out of the house for several hours. She learnt movie making for kids. I learnt where I’m going with the WIP.
On Monday I moved up to a scene in my WIP which starts the antagonist’s own flashback storyline. My WIP has a story within the story, and there are several scenes necessary to tell in flashback from decades ago.
In my ROW80 posts I’ve previously hinted at the change of process I’ve moved into in writing this particular novel. Previously, I’d had a lot of success with writing a full novel in under a month. This was what I tended to think of as the kitchen-sink approach to writing. I would spend a month fully in plotting out the scenes and timelines, inventing the character profiles and backstories, then the next month, I’d sit there for hours each day, blasting out 10K or more of writing. The month of writing could have been in November with NaNoWriMo, but I’d also previously done a novel in a month kitchen-sink-wise, in March, writing independently.
That’s how this WIP initially was intended to go. But I made the decision to start the novel in November way too late, only days before NaNoWriMo started. Last October my family moved house, around some school holidays. Without a computer, or broadband for a couple of weeks, and living out of boxes, I had decided NaNoWriMo just wasn’t doable that year. But just before November, when my laptop was finally hooked up, I felt motivated to give it a try. Plus I found ROW80 at the same time.
In December I had realised my mistake. The lack of plotting, and character realisations before I started off, left me stranded close to the end of the first Act. I knew roughly what was meant to happen, but not exactly how to pull all the threads together. December, for many of us, was a highly ‘unwriting’ month anyway, what with the holiday season, and for those in the Southern hemisphere, a long few weeks of summer school holidays to get through. Any attempts to write were impacted by other distractions during the day. Add to that my lack of knowledge about where the novel was going, and I was flummoxed.
I spoke in a ROW80 post about intending to change my goals, and spend some of January getting back into the preplanning of my novel, before moving on with the draft writing. In January itself, I also changed my ROW80 goals to a time-based one, rather than on wordcount. I continue with my other goals – those towards researching, reading, social media, and blogging, but I’m no longer checking them off, or documenting them to any great state.
So on Monday, with the need to enter the important story-within-story scenes, I made good on my promise to get it plotted out, and characters more defined. I’ve spent several days organising a timeline, then the appropriate scene cards, doing up character profiles, setting profiles etc. I’ve even managed to add several more thousands of words to the WIP.
I happen to be fortunate enough to have a decent timeline creator on my machine. I have an upgraded version of Smartdraw. (It’s an expensive bit of software, however). I know that timelines are important to many writers, but finding decent software to create them with (aside from resorting to a simple spreadsheet, which works well anyway). Cas located one free to use browser app which I’ve reblogged here. I’ve used my Smartdraw 2012 program, which has a decent enough timeline template.
There it is, in small profile. I could have shown you it closer, but I’m afraid I’ve already bored you with details. Besides, most of it is backstory to characters that nobody but the writer needs to know about. And double besides, a
girl writer has got to have her secrets.
The timeline spans three decades, and two different stories. It also identifies the main character’s major periods of backstory, and her family birthdays – the last so that I can have a handle on their relevant ages during the two story paths. My main character may become a serial character in the future, so knowing her full history is helpful to me.
I’ve taken the major events of the antagonist’s backstory and made them into brief synopsis scene cards, now ready to be written out, and slotted into the WIP manuscript draft folder.
How are your ROW80 or writing goals going?