Tuesday, March 30
Here we are, not entirely starting over on the book, but kind of. Keeping fav characters and their lives. Saying bye to less fav characters. Totally reworking plot and structure. One day I will reread the first months of this journal and think, “Oh, poor writer, if you only knew how many of these chapters you’re so proud of now will be ditched.” Will you believe me if I say this makes me happy? Writers R Weird.
Wednesday, March 31
New improved plot coming along nicely. I suppose there is still that small business about writing it all down in book form.
Thursday, April 1
I’m committing an unnatural act: outlining.
Friday, April 2
It’’s amazing to watch the same major characters and plot points drop into different, more natural places in the story. I’m glad I’ll maybe get to keep them. It’s good to find silver linings–since I’m throwing away the 50,000 words I wrote in the past few months. The next 50,000 will be better. One hopes. One does.
Monday, April 5
I came home from Costco with a white dry erase board and four colors of markers! NOW I can plot. Or plotz. One or the other.
Tuesday, April 6
Thinking out loud: So far, I have four points of view in this novel, two men, one woman, one child. I confess that I play fast and loose with pov, and break the “rules.” Sometimes I drop in extra povs and hope nobody will notice. Do not try this at home, children.
But here’s the thing–if a Big Event happens, and if what makes it big is its rippling/widening effect on a lot of people*, then those people may have to be heard up close and personal. So I like to look at it through their eyes. One thing I try never to do, however, is mix povs in a single scene. Other authors get away with even that, though.
Don Maass talks about this in his book, Fire in Fiction, in which he explains how it’s not the size of the storm, it’s the number of people affected by the storm that make it a big event, which in turn can turn it into a Big Book.
Wednesday, April 7
I don’t think I can do it. Outline from beginning to end, that is. The urge to just write is too strong. The outlining thing is beginning to feel as if I’m trying to outline my own life when the truth is I don’t even know what might happen tomorrow. You know that old saying, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans?” That. “Story is what happens when I’m busy making other plot.”
Monday, April 12
I’ve been writing. The first chapter is now a hundred times stronger than the original, and this is a result of a.) writing the original version; b.) throwing away the original version; c.) doing some “outlining,” which consisted mainly of reworking the plot and characters, but not all the way through to the end; and d.) writing a new first chapter. So far, the new second chapter is looking better, too. I’m hopeful. Such is the process. Such is the pain and the relief form the pain. Which is not to say I’ll end up being able to keep everything I’m doing this time. But gradually, I’m getting there.