Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Challenge - structure, structure, structure

Yes, I'm getting my query package together. It is zooming right along. I have a plan and a girl with a plan is a good thing. Bu.......t! Part of doing this is to write several synopses and in doing that I stumbled upon - no, I didn't stumble upon it - a structure cheat sheet was given to me by  Miriam Forster from Dancing with Dragons, who got it from The Dark Salon - Alexandra Sokoloff - a great site!
I immediately saw it as a great device for beating my synopsis into order. And it has been - I've been quite swoony with it, actually. In doing it (what? you ask) - in filling in the details I have realized that my novel does have quite a solid structure. But it isn't exactly in the same sequence that is outlined in the narrative structure that Alexandra lays out. My mid-point reversal isn't quite at my mid-point and perhaps I have two of them - and the enemy or obstacle is more within than without and uh...the black moment isn't black enough. So I'm tinkering in my mind with the structure of my plot.

I'm sure you all will understand when I say that I don't WANT to be tinkering with the narrative right now. Unh...unh. I want it done and dusted - put into a tidy package and sent off to those who will see it.
In the middle of this I realize one of the trigrams of the I CHING - #64 - Before Completion
No. 64,   Before Completion:
Before Completion. Success.
But if the little fox, after nearly completing the crossing,
Gets his tail in the water.
There is nothing that would further."

           Yesterday's final changing line said, " . . the turning point is at hand. . . .  If she moves forward, good fortune will follow."  [Huang]. 
     And today's future reading says, "You need to move carefully --- like a little fox crossing an ice-covered river."  But you do need to keep moving.

         This is the last hexagram in the I Ching, but it does not signal an end.   It describes "the condition before transition."  [The Image]

           ". . . it  could suggest that you are not prepared to see clearly what must be done and take the final steps into the future. This may be a fear of the emptiness that sometimes comes after achieving a goal, or, on a more primal level, a fear of death.  . . .  All aspects of life and human affairs must come to an end and begin anew.  The awareness and acceptance of this is the richness of the human experience."  [Wing]
The Challenge today, dear readers, is to look at your plan with some dispassion - in my case I must not think I'm at the end when there are still danger signs (ice is tricky near the shore). I will keep moving but I will not let my self-imposed dead-line get in the way of my goal to have kept at this novel until it is the best it can be before letting it out. Is there anything in your plan (either your overt or secret plan) that needs adjusting to reflect the circumstances? Perhaps you've decided that you will write in first person because someone said you should for your first novel and yet? Or you have kept to a device, a convention of a genre even though you think, secretly, that it is works against YOUR story?

*special thanks to National Geographic and Pics-site.com for the picture

Now I must get back to work with dear Gwen by my side. For it is writing Tuesday and a rainy cold old day it is too.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Hope you enjoy your writing Tuesday with Gwen! Glad you found Alex S's site...she's got some great info there, I think.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Great horny toads, I hate writing a synopsis. I'll check out Alex's site. Thanks, Jan.

Roxy said...

A girl with a plan is a good thing indeed! I'm getting ready to query too, and it's an exciting process. My only gripe is that dreaded synopsis. It really isn't so bad though. Not as tough as writing the manuscript, right? Of course, right. Good luck to you, Lady!

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - You are so right about the importance of stepping back and looking at one's plan carefully. It's hard to be dispassionate about something one's created. If it's good writing, you were passionate when you wrote it. But it is important to do that.

Miriam Forster said...

Yay, I'm glad you like the link! I've found her blog so helpful.

She does say that the midpoint and other climaxes can be a series of scenes, which I remind myself often :)

Arlee Bird said...

Even the seemingly best plans can be subject to tweaking because they may become even better.

See my guest post at Breakthrough Blogs