Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Steadily marching forward

Another good day of goal-meeting for me. Last night, I added another 663 words to my first draft, bringing me to a grand total now of 6,913:
Notice that I'm still showing at 6%, but I'm almost to the 7% completion mark.

I decided to take a look at my mind map again today. I've been looking at the plot side for guidance on what needs to happen and in what order, but I haven't done much with the character side since I started writing. Turns out there was a lot to change and stuff to add to several of the characters, because I've made decisions as I wrote that contradicted what I'd originally thought I'd do or that have simply fleshed out the characters more. I've now updated all the character info - until something else changes during the writing I do going forward.

Then I made some modifications on the plot side. I know that I originally stated that I had broken the Beginning, Middle, and End sections into individual scenes, but that's not how it has actually turned out. What I'm actually finding more useful is just to list things I want to accomplish one after the other and then, during the writing process, grouping those events into scenes however they naturally fall.

Here's a picture of the top part of the map. The plot stuff is on the right-hand side:

You'll notice that a bunch of items at the top are highlighted in blue and are contained in "clouds." As I've accomplished writing each small event in my plotline, I've been highlighting its corresponding item on my map structure. Today, I decided to add another layer of organization by grouping the various items into scenes. So, the top five plot events all took place in Scene 1. Scene 2 was comparatively small, but it happened entirely separately from Scene 1 and the events of the next arm on the map, so I made it into a discrete scene. A clump of about 15 items make up Scene 3.

Now, none of this means much to anyone but me. It's simply an organizational tool to help me keep track of what I've written and what I still need to write. It won't be visible to the reader, or even to an editor. But what it will do is enable me to enter my writing into the yWriter program, which organizes novel content by scenes. It also organizes by chapters, but what I'm doing is entering everything in Chapter One for now. At some point, I will create several more chapters and assign clumps of scenes to each one without a great deal of thought. I'll give a lot more consideration to dividing scenes into chapters later, when I'm editing the first draft.

Another thing I'm doing is editing the plot side of the map to reflect things that I added or changed during my writing, so that the map always matches what I've written. So far, this approach has kept me on track and disciplined while still allowing me the flexibility to take things slightly off the plotted course when it feels necessary.

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