Friday, August 15, 2014

It's Alive!

How I breathed life into my manuscript after two years of nothing.

1. I went back to basics.

I usually don't outline until after the first draft. For some reason, this story was difficult to outline after the first draft because of the dreaded L word. I fell in love with a character that didn't seem to fit. And denial set in, and I didn't want to let him go. So...
2. I thought long and hard about genre. How was I going to pitch this? What market am I going to promote this in?  Who do I want to read this? That led me to a pivotal turning point in the story. I realized I had to scrap from midpoint to act three. Did I mention this story is currently 54K words?  Yeah...I had to go back to the drawing board.  But that's okay. There's so much opportunity there. My beloved character was saved. 
3. I used different color index cards for the three mc's character arcs and plot points. Also, I'll be using the same colors for their chapter POV's as I do the chapter to chapter outline. This will let me know how much face time they have on screen and the movement of the story.
4. It's all in the details: I also have world building, technology, and setting in separate categories. I'll be adding a monster list too.
And I'm off...
Resources I used:


  1. This gives me hope. I also never outline until after the first draft, but 3/4 of the way through this first draft I am feeling despair. I *wish* I'd fallen in love with one of the characters -- any of them! -- but they all came out so lifeless and boring.

    But where there's a decent premise, there's always a way, right? I'll keep plugging away and hope that a cast-and-plot overhaul in another draft will prove to be the trick.

    Coincidentally, I was looking at an old manuscript that never sold and realizing that two characters I love to death were way too nice. If they were colder and more calculating, maybe I could save the ms from the trunk.

    1. I do love a good brainstorming session. There's so many different character types you can choose from and setting. Or even add a way out there character to boost things up. You can always kill 'em at the end. =)

  2. Look at you! This past year I took a YA novel writing class and it got me in the habit of starting with the pitch and synopsis first. And then making sure that synopsis follows basic three act structure and THEN first draft. I didn't like the strategy at first, but now it's how I approach every new novel.

    1. I blame you. Monday is around the corner. Are you ready for this mess? lol. I usually start with a premise, one scene, and connect the dots from there. I never, ever, know how it's going to play out. The third act is the last thing I write. It's no fun if I already know. wow...authors are so out there. Or maybe it's just me

  3. sounds like a blast of inspiration and creativity!
    i love the index cards and save the cat - great beginnings!
    keep writing =)

  4. That's awesome! I rarely outline anything until after the first draft too. Have a terrific weekend! :)

  5. Yess! I am in the process of forcing myself to write a 4 page synopsis for a novel that I am only halfway through. I'm finding it quite helpful, and I know it'll also help speed up my writing process.


Thanks for stopping by! I had to turn on the word verification due to spammers. Sorry for the inconvenience.