Thursday, March 8, 2012

Taking Charge of the Story - tips from the tops

Tip:
...begin by taking charge of your story. Though even a completed first draft will rarely provide you with full mastery over your story, you have now managed to tell the story once.
...Note well: I'm suggesting you write your scenario after - not before - you finish your first draft. You were in no position to write a scenario before you'd done the first draft. You did not know the story well enough for that.
Top:
Stephen Koch in his book The Modern Library Writer's Workshop (which I confess I call 'the green book' because the title is...uh...unforgettable)
My Take on this Tip:

Having just been through a very intense revision process I feel I am more than ready to address this tip. I lived it! I didn't write a scenario, whatever that is. I wrote a synopsis based on The Hero's Journey. Now this was after many drafts, not just my first. I admit I don't know how many - I went through that sucker from the tiny details to the big picture. That's right, hot shot! Backwards and in high-heels. And I totally agree with Mr. Koch - couldn't have done it earlier. I took charge of that story. I saw which parts were meanders going nowhere, or ego-trips, or just plain mistakes - like the appendix - and had to be cut out. Once I really knew the story I could see all that wasn't it.
"Your story lies before you, fresh territory. Now you need a map." Koch, TMLWW
Now I'm going to do the same thing with The Rock Walker. Well, as soon as I get these query packages done and out for True. I feel pretty darn confident about this tip and I hope it helps anyone out there who gives it a twirl.
That's it for today's post. Hope you are all well and good. I'll be by this weekend to visit. Dust and vacuum!

6 comments:

Liza said...

Yep, just finished a first draft and boy do I find this true. There is so much to change...how could I know at this point where the story is going. But, at least there is a story.

Angela Felsted said...

Editing and revising are my least favorite things, but they are necessary. And these are great tips.

Thank you.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Thanks for the tips, Jan!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I never feel I have a handle on a story until the first draft is complete. And my favorite part of writing is rewriting. Unfortunately, I don't seem to know when to stop.

Faith Pray said...

Ha! Beautiful job, Jan! I'm excited with you. I just sent one off to my agent, and am now in the drumming fingers stage. Synopsis, though, is funny. I think I stayed fairly true to the synopsis I started with. As this is more of a grandchild of the first draft, though, maybe it doesn't count. Good words! I've heard of this Koch book. Need to read it!

Faith Pray said...

Ha! Beautiful job, Jan! I'm excited with you. I just sent one off to my agent, and am now in the drumming fingers stage. Synopsis, though, is funny. I think I stayed fairly true to the synopsis I started with. As this is more of a grandchild of the first draft, though, maybe it doesn't count. Good words! I've heard of this Koch book. Need to read it!