I am 45,000 words into my WIP and usually halfway through I check a list I have of story elements. Things like theme, character arc, scope of the plot, etc. Things that every novel needs to tell a gripping story.
This is also the time that I tend to do major surgery on my chapters. I recently chopped out four, put them back in, sliced other ones out...and then rewrote them.
All this because at the mid-way mark I am familiar with the intricacies of my plot and internal workings of the characters. This knowledge aids me in really looking at what I have so far.
Do I have character revealing scenes? How about ones that display their weaknesses or their unique
Do I have conflict enough to avoid a sagging middle? How about tension and opposing sides that each have a valid point?
So I get out my figurative scalpel and start to debride my words from my ideas. What do I have underneath that needs to be revealed and how can I do it more clearly, more succinctly, and with more emotional impact?
I pull out my 9 Plot Steps worksheet that I've had since high school and make sure I have all of them either on the page or outlined to be written...
- Triggering Event
- First Major Turning Point
- Calm Before the Storm
- Negative Turning Point
- Apparent Win for Villain
- Revelation or Turning of the Tide
- Victory for Hero/Heroine
After all my poking and prodding, I think I am ready to go back and layer some things in my first chapters. Thanks to my illustrious critique partner, Erin at Spock Writes Romance, I've talked through some ideas and have a definite direction.
So I'm off to the operating room to do some serious cutting. Until next time...Go Write!