Jan 6, 2012

Fixing the Problems

My WIP was my NaNo.  I thought I outlined pretty well, but as always happens for me with NaNo, I have some great ideas, and some serious inconsistencies. 

My MC right now has several different secondary characters she interacts with, but I realized I hadn't fully developed their stories to the point where I could really write them and have them be well-rounded characters. 

So I did what any over-analyzing slightly OCD (or CDO because then it is in alphabetical order, the way it should be) person does in that situation and I started outlining out each characters plot points. 

You know, just in a word document. 

With bullets. 

And a different colored font for each person. 

But wait, the different colors is smart because then when I'm putting each of the different stories back together, I can make sure that even though I don't want them to go necessarily green, blue, red the whole time, I make sure I don't go to long in the story without hitting what is happening to them. 

Trust me, this is normal behavior for me.  I mean everyone.  Right?

But I remembered what Shannon Hale said a few years ago about plotting and outlining and such.  When the scene hits, don't write about what is going to happen in the scene - write the scene.  So some of the points look REALLY long, but it is because I had the idea of exactly what needed to happen and I wrote that.  Now all I have to do is go back through my draft, fix according to the lovely outline and this draft will be done. 

How do you fix problems that are creeping into your WIP?  What ways have you found to keep your story progressing and consistent? 

16 comments :

welcome to my world of poetry said...

As I write poetry it is slightly different from a novel/story.
I write mostly on my life/ family expereiences but many the time I have to rearrange a verse.
Enjoyed your post.
Yvonne.

M.J. Fifield said...

I have a six foot bulletin board on which I have maps and calendars and pictures and post-its and whatever else I think I need to make sure things are consistent. I think it does help but, if nothing else, it's at least cool to look at.

Angela Cothran said...

CDO? LOL! You are too funny Tasha :) I've never been good at outlining. I try but as I start I think, "I should just be writing instead."

Hart Johnson said...

*giggles* Yes, I'm mocking your CDO, but in a delighted way. I am not nearly so deliberate, but I love that some people are. My revisions have astrices, arrows, exclamation points and tons and tons of scribbling (though it is actually my handwriting)

Emily R. King said...

I'm one of those lame writers who says my characters write themselves, but every once in a while I have to really work on their backstory, especially if it's pertinent to the plot line.
Good for you for pulling out all the stops. Color coordinating is a great way to go!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I am an outliner and I create details for all characters before I begin. For me, fixing usually involves adding a lot of detail to the original story. I tend to write really bare bones on the first draft.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I make note of what needs changing and decide if I can address it in the next draft, or if I need to fix it to move forward.

If it needs to be fixed NOW, the I decide if I need to start over with anew draft, or if I can simply inform my alpha readers: "Aloycius is now named Bert, and the year is now 1905 instead of 1902" and plunge merrily forward.

Ciara said...

Don't laugh too hard, but I use spreadsheets. No joke. I just had to do that for character ages in my new release COG.

Andrew Leon said...

Problems? What problems?

J. A. Bennett said...

I'm totally not organized like this. You are awesome girl!

Lillie McFerrin said...

I agree, the organization you've described is awesome :) I could learn a few things from that...may have to work on my CDO...

Kari Marie White said...

First of all. How much do I love you right now for that line about OCD or CDO. Fantastic.

Secondly, my local Staples clerks know me by name and I think Beloved Husband has even tried to get them to lock the doors before I get in.

What you just described - the with different colors and the bullets. Pure bliss.

I have 3 inch three ring binders for every novel. Every scrap of paper or idea gets dropped in there. I have tabs for characters and scenes and research. It's the only way I can keep my brain organized.

Pk Hrezo said...

I keep notecards handy and as i go thru edits, I jot little bits of interest that may be a plothole or inconsistency. I also jot traits mentioned of each characters. So you're not crazy, tho I'm sure yours are much neater than mine...lol!

Liza said...

Sometimes I wish I could be so organized. But it intimidates me. I do write character sketches, but the story grows organically. Which means a lot of revision, I'm afraid.

KarenG said...

I just dig in and start revising. I need a more organized method I think besides scrawling notes to myself in the margins.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I could probably use a bit more organisation - notes for one character recently read 'long hair, paranoid'. And that was all. In hindsight, I probably need more.