6.13.2012

Progress!

A few weeks ago, Christy shared that she's been studying up on - and now doing - the 90-day-novel. I decided to try a different approach and

*gasp*

try plotting for my terribly stuck MG shost story, CH (I originally titled it Coyote Hotel but it won't stay that, so I just call it CH now) so that I can *pause to cry a little* start it totally over.

First, I bought and skimmed through this book:

The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story


Now I'm going through it a second time and doing all of the exercises. If you're not familiar with the book, there's a lot of exercises. A LOT. And you don't start writing an actual draft until you've finished something like 100 of them. I'm on day 4 (well, by the time you read this, day 6, but I'll be out of town for a couple days and probably won't write much - Mall of America, here we come) and I'm on #35, which gives me 12 handwritten pages of notes and a 1,000 word short synopsis that actually may have gotten me unstuck!!

Now, CH wasn't just stuck a little. It was stuck a whole heck of a lot. There were too many characters, too many plot lines, too many. . .of everything. And I let it go on too long, believing the mantra of "just keep writing" would work. It so didn't.


21,669 words thrown away. Then 12,710 of a new version, gone bye-bye. This is the part where I grieved over my lost book-that-never-was-even-though-it-was-a-great-idea-and-had-a-great-main-character and started with a couple of new ideas.

Thank, Amy Deardon, for giving me my book back. I will not fail this time, I just will not! I recommend this book/process for anyone who is dead stuck. I'm not sure I could do it with a new idea, but I'll let you know when I get done with this one. I'm not writing right now, but I am *gasp* plotting. And that's exactly what CH needed.

How about you guys? Can you just power through and make it work? Or have any other great resources? Leave them in the comments! 


8 comments:

  1. I recently attending a workshop with Michael Hauge. It changed how I will now plan a book. It was an amazing talk. Unfortunately, only some of it is available in his most recent book.

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  2. so excited for you and kaleb! i thought i'd be a great plotter, and i guess i could be, but i'm not so great at days and days of brainstorming. i'm sure it'll be super, as soon as i let myself go. i hope in 90 days i have an awesome draft to show for it! christy

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  3. I love how if I leave a comment on your blog, it's automatically labeled "brilliant." Yep, I definitely gotta stop by more often so I can pick up that fabulous label.

    I'm kind of a pantser who starts with a loose outline and then lets the more specific stuff come slowly as I write. And I do write slow. I think that's just how my brain works. If I rush things, then my stories suck. So yeah, in my case, slow is good.

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  4. Yay for progress! I tend to just push through the first draft, and then do organizing, cutting and such later. But it is undoubtedly good to do it at the beginning, too!

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  5. What's with all the different fonts and sizes? I should probably learn to plot out my blog posts. :)
    erica

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  6. I learnt my lesson when I got a serious case of burnout when I began the discontinued first draft of my Russian novel sequel almost immediately on the heels of finally finishing the first book back in August 2001. When you're coming off of a gigantic writing high, sometimes you need a break so you don't get sick of the characters and their stories. You can always work on other books when you're taking a break. I like to be at the point where I'm not writing the book, but the book is writing me. If you're forcing yourself to work when you're not feeling it 100%, the story can suffer.

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  7. I love how if I leave a comment on your blog, it's automatically labeled "brilliant." Yep, I definitely gotta stop by more often so I can pick up that fabulous label.

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  8. Yay, Erica, for getting unstuck! That is huge. Great books on writing are excellent for the purpose. Another one I love and frequently recommend is James Scott Bell's THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS. And if you feel a lull coming on, try yoga for writers--I blogged about it today and I'm not making it up. It's a ten-minute workout designed by a yogi/writer just for writers to boost their creativity and get them to the page.

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