Back in the saddle

I finished my first draft of the first book of my trilogy on January 28th, just over a week ago.  My plan was to immediately start my outline of the next book and tear into it within days.  I mean, I’ve been thinking about what comes next since I started plotting the first book.  However, a funny thing happened to me on the way to my next outline… I realized that I have no idea what really happens.

My last manuscript went from being a proposed 80k to just under 50k when I was done.  On the plus side, I now have a decent idea of what my scene averages really are so my math is going to be a lot closer this time.  I also realized that the spreadsheet my love made me had wonky math since he’d accidently set it to add a different field than he should have.  Math is NOT my strong point.  Like, at all.  So although it seemed weird that it was telling me I’d be done so soon, I ignored it because my writing pace seemed to match up as far as remaining scenes.  And I did finish as predicted, just 30k words shorter than I should have.  Oops.  Got that sorted though so now I’ll have a better idea this time around.

Having learned so much about the way I write and the weaknesses I have from this first attempt, I had a really good idea of where I needed some improvement.  And so began my efforts to wear out Google as I searched for everything I could find about 3 act story structure and subplots.  I was drawing a complete blank on how subplots are generally written in a first person POV story.  Now I have a better idea so hopefully I can use that information to weave one or two into I Wish. 

It’s been hard to try to think of my story in terms of a 3 act structure.  I thought that having a “formula” would make it easier because now I know what type of scene should come at what point in the story and I think after I do it a few times it will probably become second nature, but I’ve actually found it a little overwhelming because I have all these ideas swirling in my mind of what needs to happen, but I’m not really sure which scene would be the inciting incident or which should be the climax.  I’m guessing my biggest problem is the inability to visualize the scenes in terms of their overall placement in the story frame.  I know some authors use index cards and the floor to lay everything out.  I have a cat, a dog, and a whole herd of children so I don’t think that would end well for me.

That’s about where I am at this stage.  I’ve got a pretty good handle on the main events of the second book, less idea of the less pivotal scenes, and nearly all of the third book plotted.  That last bit happened by accident, I swear.  Somewhere along the line all the twists and conflicts seemed to end up resolved in book three and now I think I’ve got nearly enough worked out to finish it.  I thought that I might write other books set in the world of this trilogy, but it wasn’t until I figured out how book 3 ends that I realized exactly what the fourth book will be about.  At this point I think that I will write each book that follows as much as a stand alone as possible, but if inspiration strikes, I am open to changing that idea.

I hope, if I’m very lucky (and even busier) that I will finish my summary today and can start my outline tomorrow.  Outlining I Wish took me two days for 30 scenes.  I’m planning on 50-ish scenes for this one.  It might take me three days or more.  But I would like to start writing this week. 

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5 Comments

Filed under I wish, writing

5 responses to “Back in the saddle

  1. Wow. Your writing process is so much different than mine is. I am one of those people that just writes and writes without planning any of it. It feels good when I am writing, but I ended up with a lot of extra stuff that I need to edit out, and I need to give my story more structure now.

    I am guessing that your first drafts need a lot less editing than mine do.

    It is really neat to find out how other people write. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks so much for the comment! I’ve tried to just write as I go. In fact, for years I assumed that’s the only way to do it. I never managed to finish anything though. I’d write lots of words, but none of it really lead anywhere. I’d end up going back and editing the first couple of chapters to death instead because that was something tangible that I could handle.

      I’m pretty sure the first author to ever reach me about outlining first was Holly Lisle (http://hollylisle.com/). If you’ve never visited her site, you really should. She’s got tons of resources available for free and her paid stuff is money well spent. She makes it seem so doable. So I tried it her way this time and I wrote my first draft in just over two weeks. It still needs a lot of work, but I’m still ridiculously excited to have finished something I’ve started.

      I also liked this article about “phase drafting” (http://fmwriters.com/Visionback/Issue%2015/phase.htm), which is just another way of saying micro outlining as far as I can tell. I definitely don’t go to that level of planning, but I did take away from it that the more you plan in advance, the faster the actual writing goes.

      • Hi Wren!

        I stumbled upon your blog through Natalie Whipple’s crit classifieds. 🙂 Thought I’d stop by and say hello.

        I haven’t even begun to think about the second book in my series. I’m so scared to edit and punch the crap out of my first book that by the time I get to my second one, it might be entirely different.

        Maybe you can use a cork board or a white board to write and organize your ideas? You can tuck it away when you don’t need it 😀

        Good luck with your writing!

      • Thanks for stopping by! Ideas for the second and third book came to me while I was planning the first one. If I hadn’t thought of the concepts, I think I would have ended up going a totally different direction. I won’t complain though. Even though the outlining on the second one is being a pain, a good idea is still gift.

  2. Pingback: How I wrote I Wish… in 2 weeks. « Wren Writes

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