I established three key things in my last couple of Just Write blog entries: my main character, Anna, is relentless in her quest to have her story told, my novel (as it stands) is a big pile of dog poo, and that it is necessary to start all over if I hope to produce something even remotely interesting.
In the last day or two, I’ve set about trying to figure out where I went wrong. I am embarrassed – and relieved – to say that it wasn’t all that hard. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I have a foundation problem. The core inciting incident which is pivotal to this plot driven novel occurs fifteen years too soon. I arranged the timeline is such a fashion because I felt that it gave my character depth. This single traumatic incident created the woman she grew to be and dictated her path in life.
Sounds good, right?
Well, at least it sounded good in my head. On paper – not so much.
Turns out, the time gap destroys the credibility of Anna’s motivation. If your character has no motivation, you have no story – at least, not one that anyone would waste their time reading.
I have worked pretty consistently this week on a fresh outline. I am going back to the bare bones with a single sentence tagline, rewritten character profiles, and a basic question and answer sequence in order to sketch out the motivations and obstacles of all involved.
I’ve just started outlining the setup. I’ve got some good ideas percolating. So many so that I am fighting the urge to just start writing. Okay. I will admit to handwriting one scene, but I promise not to type it until my outline is finished.
This week’s goal = Identify problems; fix problems.
Goal = Met; Problems identified. Entire story scraped. New outline started.
Next week’s goal = finish a solid first draft of the setup outline.
3 thoughts on “Just Write: Self-shaming Sunday update”
Excellent, I’m glad to hear that is progressing well. I love the part about hand writing a single scene with a personal promise. Hilarious. 🙂
Wow, that takes guts. You should be very proud of yourself as most writers might give into temptation to just scrap the whole project rather than reassessing it. I’m really happy that you decided to re-work what you have as it can be so much simpler to say ‘Forget it, I’m just gonna pick a new idea.’
I’m not sure if you’re looking at any guides or how-to’s (I know these can be time-wasters and are too complicated) but you should check out ‘Outlining your Novel’ by K.M. Weiland. I found it to be very helpful and full of tips that I immediately applied to my own outline. (I’m not affiliated with Weiland in any way), but it really was a very helpful book and super-short! meaning you can go through it and start applying the tips right away.
Anyway, good luck with your outline! 😀
I actually intended to walk away from the project, but it nagged at me. So, here I go. I am always in the market for anything that will help me navigate this novel writing thing. I will check out this book. It sounds like something I could really find useful. Thank you so much for the heads up!