Monday, September 23, 2013

Cut and Then Cut Deeper

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
10 Blade!
strengths?  Do I have a moment that shows their true motivations?

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...

  1. Triggering Event
  2. Characterization
  3. First Major Turning Point
  4. Exposition
  5. Calm Before the Storm
  6. Negative Turning Point
  7. Apparent Win for Villain
  8. Revelation or Turning of the Tide
  9. 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!


Donna Hole said...

Have fun Raquel. Seems as though you have a plot for success,lol.

Patti said...

Sounds like you've got a great plan. I feel like I've been in the operating room for a really long time.

Laura Marcella said...

That's a good sheet. It's never easy to cut but it does make the story even better!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Perfect picture. I'm doing some bloody rewrites after an ugly first draft. I might need a transfusion before I get it right.

Crystal Collier said...

Great little outline there. Very simple and direct. Best of luck with your revisions--it can be so difficult to get just the right dynamic.

Gina Gao said...

This is a pretty great sheet!

Pk Hrezo said...

Great list, Raquel! These are things I like to figure out before and after the first daft... and often, like you, I have to get out the scalpel (tho i call it a and start hacking. It does get messy, and frustrating at times. But there's always a way thru, right?
Good luck!! :)

Arlee Bird said...

You've really got a system going. Smart lady! That's why you're a pro I guess.

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