Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Lost in Plot


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. (link in blue)

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

The awesome co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG are Diedre Knight, Tonya Drecker, Bish Denham, Olga Godim, and JQ Rose!

Yes - it's another meeting of my favourite group. I'm not answering this month's question, which is Have you ever read a line in novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy? Because the answer is too short. Yes. Yes, all the time. I read many many books. I read very good books. I'm an author because I have author envy. If I didn't have author envy I would not work so hard at what I do. The end of that.

So what can I talk about at today's meeting. Um...I'm still working on my next Nell Munro novel tentatively called Butter & Snow. My goal for March is to finish a proper first draft. I have the words but truly I do not have an ending. Last month I went through and wrote a synopsis of what I had. That was a great exercise - I've used it before. Whether you are a pantser or a plotter, the same work will have to be done. I write without an idea of where I'm going - just tooling around in the bush seeing where I end up. Then I realize that I have a lot of characters in search of a plot. So.. I wrote the synopsis up to where my ending wasn't. Now I've been working on that. Once that is done and not a moment before I'll go back in with my synopsis and write out the story again with my synopsis notes - because I changed a lot with that. Then I'll have a first draft. I'll go through this draft and make a beat sheet (see Roz Morris - who's book Nail Your Novel - is invaluable to me). The beat sheet briefly summarizes every scene in the book and I get to use different coloured pens and make squiggles and other hieroglyphics in order to see what is going on in about five pages of teeny tiny writing. I love doing that, but I can't do it until I have an ending. I may change the ending - I undoubtedly will - but I cannot change or improve on nothing. 
I'm just glad I'm not a house builder. "Uh no. I really don't want the staircase there after all, but I had to put it in to realize that."

Therefore my goal for March - for the whole month - is just to finish the ending. I'm doing that by writing in longhand while I stare at our woodstove. Seems a good idea. During my writing times I'm allowed to do nothing or write. I'm not allowed to do something but nothing is fine. Thank you Neil Gaiman for that stellar tip.

What are your goals for the month? How do you deal with plot and structure? Do you ever write by hand?

Now to take the girl out for a walk. 


Liza said...

Yes, this month's question rather stumped me too. There are way to many to choose from, or remember! Glad you are working hard on your draft. I had a teacher once who said, "Thinking is writing, too."

Natalie Aguirre said...

Good luck finishing your manuscript in March. That's a great idea to work on your synopsis to help figure out plot points.

Bish Denham said...

I used to do all of my writing by hand. Now I write by hand only only for initial plotting and character development notes and maybe for short stories.

Pat Garcia said...

I don't usually write by hand. Either I am writing with my iPad or I'm writing on my computer in my office which is downstairs in my basement.
Have a lovely month and good luck with finishing your ending.
Shalom shalom

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That made me chuckle - no, definitely don't try building houses!

Helen said...

I like your idea for if one is stuck on what the ending will be...write a synopsis for the book to that point. Kind of makes one focus on the 'big' picture. THanks