Thursday, March 11, 2010


Sometimes things seem to work comfortably and you just keep doing it the same way. I've been proud for years of saying that I just follow my characters and let them lead the story. But truthfully, I think I've just taken the easy and maybe cowardly, or is it lazy, way out.

As I'm working on my current WIP, I've found 3 things that I'm enjoying doing to 'organize' myself as i work on the project.

#1 Letters. I've been writing letters from my characters to each other and finding some interesting insight about them. Since digging deeper into a character isn't the best thing I do, this has helped me to find out who they are and what their needs are beyond my plot planning.

#2 Synopsis: When applying for the SCBWI WIP grant recently, I decided to search for a project that really needed some funding for me to do more research for it. I pulled out an old partial I had once loved. As i worked on the grant information, one of the things I needed to send was a synopsis. Problem is, I hadn't written one because the book hadn't gone beyond a few chapters and a few plotting outlines. So I set myself one afternoon to just writing a synopsis nonstop. When I was done, it was too long, but in it I suddenly found some new ideas and that the story idea was deeper and new characters had entered in, and even a new storyline, or at least the old one off in a different direction.

So, for this work in progress I'm doing the same, just to get an idea where it could be going. Doesn't mean I can't change it, but for now, it's moving the story and characters in a direction.

And #3; I know several writer friends who go back and edit in different colored highlights to check on charcter, plot, dialogue, voice, theme, etc.

As I'm moving along on the 8 chapters I've already done and ideas for the book, I decided to buy a box of colored 4X6 index cards and a plastic card case with dividers. Each color represents plot, or character, or theme, or scene ideas or the myriad of questions I usually ask myself and my story as I wrote. This way, I have them all in one case, easy to find, easy to separate. I can also see that my greens, my charcter cards, are much less than the other colors, once again telling me I need more ideas to strengthen the characters.

So, the story is now working for me and I'm working for it, I think. We'll see how this all goes. But i do know that my gift, my interest often lies in organization, so it's amazing I've always tried to write my books by the seat of my pants instead.

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