On Track

So last week I mentioned how I was doing on my goal for the month. Even though I didn’t accomplish the goal that I set at the beginning of February, I wrote enough so I’ve averaged over 10K words each month so far :). I’m fine with that.

I finally have a glimpse of what I’m working towards with the final meet up with the antagonist at the end of Sapphyre. I’m looking forward to getting there but it’ll probably be a while haha.

Here’s to making March another great month!

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Making it Work

I was looking at my outline the other day and I realized that three of the chapters I had coming next do nothing to move the plot along.

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I cut them out and the midpoint of the book is now coming sooner. I’m writing it today.

Sometimes we have to cut things that may seem important if they don’t further the plot. It always makes the book better.

Shoving through the Middles

There are many authors who agree that the middles are the worst.

As you may remember, I was so excited at the end of December that I’d finished Act I of my WIP. I felt confident that I could work hard and finish the book within a few months.

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I went through what I had plotted out, then my mind went into frustration mode. I knew that I was working towards my midpoint but had absolutely no idea what my protagonist was going to deal with in the space in between. I had a general idea but nothing concrete. I felt like I was stuck in thick mud.

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Guybrush Threepwood’s attempts to get out of quicksand in The Curse of Monkey Island felt similar to what I was dealing with

To add to the struggle, I had no idea what would be going on in the chapters that were in the POV of my second MC.

The middles are hard because there’s excitement for the beginning and then the ending is something you (usually) know and are working towards. The middles are where lots of crap happens to the protagonist. It’s the struggle of writing what will lead you to the ending you’re planning on.

I’ve been shoving through these middles and even though it’s been slower moving, I finally have an idea for what’s going to happen in the chapters leading up towards my important midpoint. I’m back in my chapter by chapter outline and I know what things I’m going to put in each chapter for the most part.

So if you’re feeling stuck, you can push through the mud and end up with something awesome 🙂

Moving from Draft to Draft

One of the things I’ve learned this week is that there are a lot of things that don’t transfer well between drafts.

I’ll be using some flashbacks in my manuscript so I decided to see if there was anything that would work from the previous draft.

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Nothing did.

When you’re writing a second draft to a novel, it’s normal to change a lot of stuff because first drafts are basically fertilizer. Good things come from the framework but things shift once you know the whole story.

Some of those scenes from my old draft can be reworked when I figure things out, but for now, I’ll just enjoy writing flashbacks from long before the book began.

P.S. If you haven’t looked at the progress bars yet, they’re giving some good information. I love updating the Topaas one 🙂

Accomplishing Goals

Happy New Year friends!

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I mentioned on Twitter in early December that I wanted to set a goal to reach the first pinch point of my novel by the end of the month. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, it’s part of the three act plot structure that I loosely follow.

Act I
Hook: 1% mark. This opening moment is your opening scene—the first thing that happens in your story—possibly even the first line
Setup: 1% – 12%. Readers learn about your characters, their goals, and the stakes
Inciting Incident: 12% mark. A turning point occurs halfway through the First Act. This is the Call to Adventure, the moment the Normal World is significantly rocked by the conflict
Build-up: 12%-25%. The final pieces necessary for the main conflict are moved into position while ramping up the tension
1st Plot Point: 25% mark. The doorway between the end of the First Act and the beginning of the Second. Also likely to be the Key Event

Act II
Reaction: 25% – 37%. After the First Plot Point, the protagonist scrambles to understand obstacles thrown in her way by the antagonist
1st Pinch Point: 37% mark. A reminder of the antagonist’s power, which provides new clues about the nature of the conflict
Realization: 37% – 50%. Protagonists realization grows and her reactions become more informed
Midpoint: 50% mark. The Moment of Truth when the protagonist realizes the central truth about the nature of the conflict
Action: 50% – 62%. Thanks to her new understanding, the protagonist makes headway against the antagonist
2nd Pinch Point: 62% mark. Foreshadows Second Plot Point and serves to remind the protagonist what’s at stake
Renewed Push: 62% – 75%. Protagonist renews attack upon the antagonist. She reaches a seeming victory

Act III
2nd Plot Point: 75% mark. A dark moment for the character. After the victory at the end of the Second Act, she experiences a reversal
Recovery: 75% – 88%. Protagonist reels as she questions her choices, her commitment to her goal, and her own worth and ability
Climax Begins: 88% mark. This turning point forces the protagonist and the antagonist to finally face each other
Confrontation: 88%-98%. Duel to the (literal or metaphoric) death. What occurs here ensures protagonist and antagonist cannot both walk away
Climactic Moment: 98% mark. The moment the protagonist’s goal is met, it becomes a physical impossibility for the conflict to continue
Resolution: 98%-100%. Ease readers out of the excitement of the Climax and into the final emotion

When I set the goal on December 11th, I wasn’t close. I was in the build-up stage but I knew that this was a goal that would stretch me.

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As the holidays approached, I wondered if I would be able to accomplish it but I kept writing every day. Although it did feel pretty discouraging when I only had enough time to write a couple of sentences, I pushed through.

I wrote in the mornings on my family vacation before my husband woke up and kept working on it, even though it seemed loftier and loftier by the minute.

On the 29th, I felt a little discouraged because I had a few chapters left to write to get to the first pinch point and only wrote 50 words because we’d been at Universal Studios all day long.

Then on the 30th, my husband had some work that he needed to do on the computer in our hotel, so we stayed in and I wrote.

I still felt discouraged in the beginning because the scene I was on was super awkward and it made writing difficult.

However . . .

I got that scene written, then wrote through the next two chapters and the first scene of a third where . . .

I wrote the first pinch point!

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Setting good goals can make a world of difference.

I’m so much farther than I would have been otherwise.

I hope in this new year that you all set goals that will stretch you and enable you to do your best.

Happy goal setting!

The List of Awesome

Hey Everyone,

Sorry I missed posting last week. I had a total mind blank and couldn’t think of anything to say.

I’m working through a writing funk at the moment and it’s been more difficult than others have been prior to this time.

Usually when I’m stuck, if I just start writing about anything relating to my novel, it gets me into a groove and I keep going. That hasn’t been happening. Why?

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My friend Andrea who I’ve mentioned before, gave me the advice to make a List of Awesome for my novel. Things to add to the list are events that I think would be cool if I can fit them into the book.

Though I haven’t fully figured things out, it’s nice to have this list to go to for ideas of what should come next.

New Story Developments

I’m back!

I hope you all are doing well and that your writing goals are as well.

The honeymoon was awesome and one thing I learned is that road trips can really get my mind going.

As we drove, a thought wouldn’t leave me alone.

One of my POV characters for Topaas is not working and needs to be cut completely.

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Considering the fact that he’s so major to the story, I had no idea how it would even work to cut him.

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After a lot of thinking and mulling it around in my head, I believe I’ve found an answer. A side character that I really like will come and fill the void.

I’m really excited about this.

It’s certainly going to change things and I look forward to exploring this new version of the story.