Post By: Writer Woman
If you are just popping in this is a progress update on my new writing project. Previous posts can be found here:
Something New (Part 2)
Hey everyone, It’s back to school time which means back to work for me. 😦 I was super busy this week and didn’t get much work done on my story. However, I did get to talk about my story a lot which never hurts. I have a few friends at work that read my writing and they wanted to know what I was up to over the summer and if I’d started a new story yet, so I got to tell them all about my new idea. I love to think out loud and explaining my idea to someone else really helps me flush things out.
I did make some actual progress this week. I didn’t totally neglect my new story. After telling the story a few times I thought ‘Hey that’s basically an outline why don’t I just put down what I’ve been telling people in the form of an outline. So I sat down to outline yesterday… it didn’t work. Well, it did and it didn’t. Yes, I know the basic layout of the plot but I found I had several scene ideas in my head that I wasn’t sure where they would fit best in the plot. So I set the outline aside and listed out all the scene ideas. I don’t know the exact order of the scenes so I listed them by where they were going to happen. Which also happen to be my beginning, middle and end. My story starts on an island, then in the middle they’re on a ship and then they’re in another land so the scenes divide up nicely when I list them by location.
I also did something I have never done at this stage. I wrote a synopsis. Generally the synopsis is the last thing I write and only because some agents want it with your query letter. But I had just written one for Burn so it was fresh in my mind and I couldn’t help seeing the pattern when I was listing out my scenes so I decided to write it, sort of. It’s not polished or anything, some of it is not even in complete sentences. But I felt it helped me see the arc of the story. I always use Susan Dennard’s How to write a one page synopsis. I copy/paste her template into my document then replace her examples with my story info. She makes it super easy.
So that was how I spent my morning then Alexandra Bracken’s newsletter came. I had been waiting for this. She’d been posting on Instagram that she was going to do a big How to on character development in her newsletter. Which is the part of my story I’m most behind on. So I read over her article and took some notes. She started out by saying character development is the very first thing you should do, before world building, before plot development. That was a bit frightening because that means I’m doing things completely backwards. I’m sitting here with my world and my plot, it’s the characters that are eluding me. Well hopefully with Bracken’s help that will soon be rectified. So she said she always starts with the character’s emotional arc. Where are they starting and where will they end up at the end of the story? Then she sorts out the characters Self-revelation, desire/stakes, and needs (both moral and psychological). She also talks about developing a backstory, the character’s voice and quirks, and group dynamic. I’m not going to go into all the details but it was a great article. It was in her newsletter but I hope she shares it somewhere for people who missed it.
So after reading and digesting Bracken’s article I made my own character worksheet. Then I promptly closed my lap top and spent the rest of the night in a book. My brain was spent and I needed to let all the ideas simmer. I am looking forward to sitting down and mapping out my characters. Perhaps I will do that later this afternoon. And by my next update I will have some great characters.