Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Writing, rewriting and thoughts on plot

Have you read this incredibly helpful post The Essentials of Plot by Cheryl Klein? If not, you really should. It's good.

But wait!

If you are drafting a novel right now for nanowrimo, don't read it yet.

It's really better to read it later, when you are revising.

So, I've been working on a book this past year, since March I believe. I think I've finally settled on a title - HOPE FOR NIMBUS. Not quite ready to tell you what it's about yet. Anyway, this book has put me through the ringer. I had 75 pages or so done and after sharing it with my agent as well as my good friend L.K. Madigan, I decided it wasn't working. So I started over.

I worked on it on and off through the summer months and when I finished the first draft the end of August, I had my husband read it to give me some thoughts, and he totally didn't get the ending. So, I rewrote it. Then, I had a couple of helpful readers give me some feedback in September (HUGE thanks to Lisa and Joan) and some things still weren't working. I had to rethink one of the plot elements, and was stuck for awhile. But finally, I had an idea driving home from work one day a couple of weeks ago. And as I worked on the issues, I remembered Cheryl Klein's post on plot. And I realized I had what I needed for an action plot climax, but I needed to work on the emotional climax some more.

Here is how Cheryl describes each type of plot:

* Action plot: The external action or conflict; what physically changes for your character in the course of the book.
* Emotional plot: The internal action; or the moral and emotional development of your characters as a result of the external action.

Most stories will have both. And usually, one happens before the other, and gives the character what he/she needs to conquer the other one.

It's really hard to get them both just right. And I'm still not sure I'm there yet. But I worked hard the past four days, while I was off from the day job, and with many words thrown out and new words written in their place, I typed THE END yet again yesterday. Whew.

Sometimes I feel like the hard work I've had to put into this book means it's not any good. I don't know why I think that - you'd think it would be the opposite. I don't know, maybe I've just been working on it so long, I'm to the point where I'm getting a little tired of it.

So, the plan is to let it rest this week, go through it one more time this weekend and make any changes I think of when my subconscious is working on it these next four days, and then send it to my agent next week.

Writing a book is hard. Trying to make a book GOOD is even harder. No matter what happens, I'm proud of myself for sticking with it, and for trying, again and again, to get it right.

No rest for the weary, though. I have a synopsis and 25 pages done on a new verse novel with a GREAT hook. I'm excited about it. Wheee, what a roller coaster this writing life is!!


  1. Thank you for the great advice. Given that my critique partner/blog buddy and I are killing ourselves with revisions all month (Go NaNoRevisMo!) this is VERY helpful.

    Congrats for thying "the end." I have yet to do that with my draft--looking very forward to it.

    And may I just say--ahem--Squee! A. New. Lisa. Schroeder. Book. Soooo excited!

  2. My English professor explained that writing is re-writing. A continuing process so to speak. I'm working on my second novel, but still working on the first one. I think it's a great idea to take breaks and let an idea or inspiration come to you. Good luck on your writing!