Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And So It Begins Again

I spend more time revising than I do actually writing. Each time I start a new manuscript, I think - This time will be different. This time I’ll get it down in two drafts. But invariably by the time I finish the second draft, I realize major revisions are needed. And why? Up until now, I wasn’t quite sure, but I think I’ve figured it out.

I don’t take enough time to plot out my GMCs for each character.

Oh, I tell myself I do. I slap stuff down on paper and say, ‘there, see – GMCs are done’. But I never really, truly think them out. I'm way too anxious to start writing, so I make a good play at it. I skim over the surface and think – yup, sounds good. But I don’t look at the big picture in detail. And inevitably the GMCs I had worked up are never strong enough to support the whole story. And by the end of draft two this becomes glaringly obvious and I can no longer deny it.

At which time I end up back at the drawing board with a great story that’s missing a key ingredient. Like making cookies and forgetting the chocolate chips. Sure, it tastes good, but wouldn’t you rather have the chocolately goodness? Of course you would.

Luckily, I figured out what was missing for Brimstone. And of course, it changes things drastically. Well, okay, not drastically, perhaps that’s a bit too melodramatic. But it changes things significantly. My characters’ thinking changes, why they are doing things changes. Why they are avoiding other things changes. What I thought was a major plot point isn’t. And what I thought would be a minor plot point should have been front and centre starring in the show.

Thankfully, everything is fixable. And most of my scenes still work with minor tweaking. A line taken out, a new one inserted. Things like that. A few scenes will be removed altogether (I must kill my little darlings...) and new ones inserted in their place. It will be a process, but one I’m familiar with. After all, Outlaw Bride took six drafts to get right.

And one thing that will make this easier? This week I am taking part in an on-line course given by Shelley Bradley (aka Shayla Black) on Storyboarding. So far, I like what I see. Anything that helps me cut down on the amount of drafts I have to do, I am all for. The course runs from Mon-Fri and couldn’t have come at a better time! I’m feeling much better about my 3rd draft and the manuscript in general.

And speaking of feeling better, I borrowed a friend's books from Weight Watchers and decided to try and follow the Points thing to see if I could rectify the whole weight thing before it got out of hand. So far so good. This program is freakishly easy to follow. I went out and bought groceries and loaded up on foods that had 0 or 1 point so I could eat lots without going over my alotted points. Which was great, because I felt satisfied, not starving like I worried I would. At first I freaked out when I did the whole points calculation. I'm only allowed 18 pts on a non-workout day and 21 pts if I workout. But by eating low point foods, I'm fine. Who knew...

By the end of the day yesterday I had enough points left over to enjoy a tea and treat at Starbucks. Hey - any program that allows me to eat chocolate has my vote.

10 comments:

Annie Mac said...

Kelly, your writing challenges sound just like mine.

I always start with a little preplanning - GMC, inciting incident, etc. But it takes me a good 50 pgs before I connect with my characters and a lot of that preplanning stuff gets tossed.

My first draft is always missing layers that need to be fed in. And I wonder why everyone else can write so quickly when I just plod through, page by page. And then I need to do so much during revisions.

Toni Anderson said...

LOL--I'm the exact same.

Sigh. There has to be an easier way--maybe I just need a bigger office :)

Toni Anderson said...

PS. Good luck with WW. Maybe I need to do that.

Rene said...

Oi, the point system!! I did really well on that for awhile, then I hit the lowest number of points and plateaued. The nice thing about WW, however, is even when you go off, you have a sense of what will work and what won't. And I like the balance.

I'd rather diet than revise. I write in first person so GMC is pretty darn easy to cover. And I really only have to worry about one character. I have to discover the other characters' GMC through my protaganist. Kind of hits you in the face.

Dixie Belle said...

Hi! This will make you feel better: A month from today, Yuma opens!!!!!!!!

julia said...

I just think a story reveals itself to the writer, whether you're a pantser or a plotter. The initial structure always has room for revision. Of course, trying to avoid revisions is the reason I have such a problem with my own MS, so who am I kidding?

Kelly said...

Woo hoo! That's right, Dixie Bell - I can't wait!! I should start a count down...

Christine d'Abo said...

I always try to plan out my GMC, but I find as I get going with the plot that I need to change things. The story I thought I was writing changed and as a result the characters have to change too.

As long as you can fix it, life is good.

And good luck with WW. I really need to do something like that too.

Melissa Marsh said...

Good thing Deb Dixon wrote her book. I don't think I could write without knowing the GMC's. But like you, I sometimes just think, oh, that's good enough because I, too, am anxious to get to the writing part. But with the next book, I've really dug deep to get my characters' GMC's right on target. We'll see if it makes a difference when I start writing.

Tess said...

What I've found with GMC is that as I write, the characters reveal new things that force me to revise. And Sandra Gulland writes at least FIVE drafts :)

As for WW - I know someone who lost well over 100 pounds using that system. It's sensible and as you say, anything that allows for chocolate... :)