Welcome to my writing update for May.
This is part of a series where I update you on my writing progress each month, not just to pat myself on the back for writing (because mostly, I do NOT pat myself on the back) but also because I figured my process might be helpful to you, if you’re also a struggling writer (or perhaps even if you’re not a struggling writer. Not sure).
At least, I always find it interesting to see what other writers do and what seems to work for them. You never know if it might also work for you, neh?
Also, I post links to other helpful articles I found on the world-wide-web, so if nothing else here is helpful, at least that is.
What I worked on this month
So, if by chance, you’ve read my previous updates (if you did, kuddo’s for sticking with it), you know I’ve been plotting for what feels like ages.
So guess what I did last month?
I FINALLY WR—
No, I’m kidding. More plotting.
I can honestly say it’s driving me insane, very slowly but surely.
BUT. (and that’s a big but)
It is working. Finally.
Honestly, I could’ve decided to start writing. My editor said it would be okay. But I just felt there were still some very important parts not quite there, and until I knew that they were there, I didn’t want to start. So, we agreed on one more round of plotting.
And after some heavy questioning by my editor, I think I’m finally, finally getting those last pieces of the puzzle. I still have to work it out, but I finally have that feeling where something in my brain just ‘clicked’.
Which means, that about half-way through this month, I can FINALLY start writing again! And then it’ll be a matter of setting a deadline and writing my ass off. So I’m very happy with that.
You know what?
I now even know how to describe what my story is about (crazy, right?). Here it goes:
Nikki, a 16-year-old girl, thinks she’s losing her mind when she starts seeing colors and shapes and hearing voices at strange moments. When an elderly woman called Lorene tells her that she’s actually not going crazy, but has the power to change not just people’s thoughts, but their entire belief systems, it’s all too much for Nikki. So she declines the offer for training. But when she comes home and catches her father cheating, she starts to see the allure of being able to change how people act and think. While fighting to change her father into the man she wants him to be and learning to control her powers, she gets wrapped up in Lorene’s plans to make great changes; changes that can affect the world. How far would you go to make a change?
I’m pretty happy with that.
So, I think what you really want to know is:
What have I learned about plotting?
- There’s really no one way to plot and you never know what works for you until you try it.
- I loved the idea from my editor to write a synopsis, similar to those movie synopses you see on IMBD. You write just the major plot-points, which is the on-the-ground action. It’s a great way to see if your characters are actually doing interesting things, or if it’s just a lot of talking, for instance.
- Preferably start with the synopsis and build from that. If you’re a pantser, just a synopsis is likely enough. But once you have the synopsis, you can seperate it into scenes, and make those scene more detailed.
- All scenes should be related to the BIG QUESTIONS in one way or another. What those questions are? That depends on the genres of your story. Typically, there is one external question. For instance, will Frodo survive his journey to Mount Doom? That’s an action story question. Or: Will character X and Y overcome their differences and end up together? That’s a love story question. Then, there’s an internal question, like: Will Nikki learn to understand her father and accept him for who he is? A worldview question. Or: Will character X finally be respected in their profession? A status question. Then, there’s also an overarching question, more about the global stakes (so not just personal). For instance: Will Frodo find the inner strength to overcome temptations and destroy the One Ring to save Middle Earth? Here, his actions don’t just affect himself; they affect all of Middle Earth. The stakes aren’t just personal. This question usually related to whatever Big Social Problem you picked as part of your story. (And yes, I’m quite sure every story has a BSP in some shape or form). Since you can also have subgenres, you can have a question related to your subgenre as well.
- I’m thinking I could probably write a whole post about it (heck, I might be able to fill a book on it, honestly).
My Goals for June
FINISH. THAT. PLOT.
For real, this time. And then… START WRITING!!!
I’m actually super psyched about getting into that again (we’ll see how long it lasts, though).
Helpful writing articles
🍁 On the blog, I posted the next Hero’s Journey Archetype: the Ally. What is the function of an Ally character and how can you best incorporate it in your story?
🍁 Speaking about questions, here’s an article that talks in a bit more detail about just that! It will help you to bring your story full circle.
🍁 Getting feedback can be tough sometimes (believe me, I know). But it’s extremely valuable. So, what do you actually do after you get feedback? Find out here.
🍁 Descriptions can be tough: when do you describe something in detail, and when are you more concise?Find some tips here.
🍁 Since we’re talking about plotting, here are some reasons why planning your story helps.
🍁 Figuring out the wants and needs of your character: why is it important, and how do you do it?
Tell me about your writing progress
That was it for my May writing update. Any project you’re working on? How’s your writing going? What are you struggling with, or what’s going really well?
Do you like to plot? Or are you a pantser? (Which, honestly, I am at heart).
Let me know in the comments!