Thursday, December 30, 2010

Filling in the Gaps

File:Lower Antelope Canyon 478.jpg
Antelope Canyon

I've always been one of those writers who writes in a linear, if not chronological way. It's new for me to skip around, but this WIP has seriously kicked my butt in lots of ways. I've had to get creative, sneak up on it from different angles.

Here are some of the tricks I've been forced to use:

  • POV shift to get into another character's head and find out what happens off stage 
  • Switching the order of scenes (I'd never done this before)
  • Writing a blurb about the climax so I'd know how to get there
  • Brainstorming with CPs, parents, siblings
  • Reading aloud what I've already got
  • Inserting whole scenes in the middle
  • Rewriting entire scenes, taking big events out and replacing them with more relevant stuff
  • A whole lot of non-writing THINK time

It's been brutal, but it's been kind of fun, too. I've learned how to see flaws in my story arc, which is a big deal for me because story arc has historically been a weakness. After all the fiddling and tweaking, I'm at a point where it's become necessary to fill in the gaps. I've inserted a scene here, taken something out there, and the butterfly effect now demands a careful reread to make sure it all meshes. I should probably be dreading the huge task before me, but I'm actually kind of excited. See, I just spoke with my dad on the phone for well over an hour about scientific theory and how I can use it in my story. This reread is going to see the addition and replacement of some key words, hopefully making the story feel more real and attainable to the reader. I've also got some characterization to nail down. There are lots of good character milestones, but they need to be driven home and tied up. All this, and I haven't even written the ending. Once everything else feels like it flows naturally from one scene to another, I'm hoping the ending I outlined will feel more attainable to me. It's too nebulous right now. I know something about how it will end, but how will each event unfold? I'm getting closer to those answers with each page written. 

Even though this has been such a pain/joy to write, I know it's going to rock to finish it. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, and the better you feel when you've conquered them. 

What's your writing process? How do you fill in the gaps?

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  1. I usually have a pre thought, then outline, then an actual rough draft, then revisions in which I jump everywhere.

  2. Nebulous, I love that word! It so accurately describes how a story feels before you know every tiny little detail.

  3. I write either the beginning or the ending first. Then chunks of the middle (which can move or get lost). An finally the bridges to connect it all.

  4. I usually keep a notepad with a list of things I have to fix after the first draft is done. Including questions to myself like the one novel where I completely lost track of a character. One scene he was there and then he never was seen or heard from again.

  5. I write linearly, also, but tend to write down snippets of scenes that I won't get to later (even though they'll be entirely different when I actually get to them). :)

  6. Thanks, guys! Great ideas. I love hearing how other people connect the dots.

  7. Hello!
    I wrote linearly... Until November ... and now I'm pretty much doing what you've written about. HOping it will all mesh together in the end :)


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