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Outlining

 

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Having decided yesterday to soldier on and not get distracted by looking at my plot – I changed my mind and spent all of yesterday doing just that. I did not write any extra words of the manuscript and turned to pen and paper in my ‘Jaz’ notebook.

I fished out a very useful handout from Rosemary Dun, my Open University tutor and in it – it said ‘Outlines aren’t set in stone. They’re something you can fall back on if you’re feeling lost.’ And that’s what had happened I felt I needed to go through the woods to get where I wanted to be and had forgotten what I was in there for.

I went through various, well known, plot structures writing out my plot from the main character’s point of view, focussing on her main life goal. Whilst this is a romance – she’s a career woman and her main goal is to be successful and make a million.  While I was doing this, I reconnected back to her story and feel again that this isn’t a pile of rubbish – that she does have a story to tell and her life is one worth reading about.

I might go through the plot again, as there are three parts to her story: career, family and romance. So I might do one for each to make sure each plot is getting a mention in every chapter. I’ll then stick the lot against a dated time line, which is a very handy tip from Jenny Kane on her Imagine ‘novel in a year’. I did this with my last novel and found that very helpful. 

Doing this has also highlighted characters I need to develop, so they are not like cardboard cut outs who come on a stage and disappear. I am now feeling a lot more confident and will get back to the writing again today…

Good luck to anyone else novel writing.

Suzanne

Trudging through treacle

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2684 words achieved yesterday and I have reached the 58,000 word mark. I have split the manuscript into chapters but have got to the stage where I feel I am waffling. I am fighting the voice that is telling me that I am writing a load of old rubbish. I need to acknowledge that this is a first draft and I am merely getting the story down. Once the story is down I will review the plot, decide if I need to add more plot lines. It’s all part of the process. If I stop now and do further character development and plot development – my mind will get tied up with sub plots and I may delay getting the first draft down. It’s a real trudging through treacle moment! 

My character is feeling weighted down with the hum drum of domestic life, which she is not used to – and I’m feeling that too. I need to add in some drama otherwise I am going to get as depressed about the situation as she is 🙂 I have lots more exciting situations for her down the line to sink her teeth into and maybe – if I can’t get through this part – I might jump to the drama! I want to get across that she is feeling like a fish out of water and trapped, but maybe I need to do that without boring the reader – perhaps I should be showing other characters having fun in contrast to Jaz to highlight the lull – rather than dragging the reader into this wallowing depression with Jaz and myself. 

Today I was due to travel up to London for the Screenwriters Festival – which of course has been postponed. It has been moved on to September but whether or not it will still go ahead – we will have to wait and see. I was looking forward to it. They do have an on-line event this coming Saturday though which I will tune into.

The day’s writing beckons – hope everyone else is moving along nicely with their projects.

Suzanne x

A good day writing

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Today was very productive. I ensured that I got up when hubby’s work alarm went off – rather than lazing in bed. I tidied up the house. Filled the the slow cooker with the evening meal. Then got down to it. The words flowed and I feel I am back on track to finish my first draft of ‘Jaz’ by the end of the month. The current word count is 55,638 and I am aiming for 90,000. It’s within reach.

I have written a rough, dated outline of what happens and copied this onto my working manuscript. Although have forgotten all about chapters. This happens to me every time. I start off well then once I get into the story I completely forget about them. First thing tomorrow I will look at places I can insert chapters, before I go on. I started off with chapter lengths of roughly 2,800 words. 

Whilst writing, I look at any new female characters and ask myself whether they might become the main character in a future book. At the moment I have three potential characters for other books in the series. The process of considering what could happen to them in the future helps me develop rounder characters, rather than stereotype stock characters. 

I have been out for my early evening daily exercise and the meal which has been bubbling away all day in the pot, is now ready – so I’m off now to eat it.

Good luck everyone with your writing.

Suzanne

Distractions

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As mentioned I am writing a novel with the working title ‘Jaz.’ I reached the mid-point of the book where Jaz takes a huge life changing decision and burns her bridges in a ‘no going back’ moment. Originally this happened after only 38,000 words. As I am aiming for a 90,000 word novel and wanted this part to be at the middle of the book and had fallen short on my word count – I have spent the past month rewriting the first half of the book and ramping up the drama.  This has meant the word count has been harder to increase as it is rewriting – rather than writing. I have again reached the mid point and have just counted the words and the first half is now at 45,016. Obviously this is the first draft and that will change with further rewrites – of which there will be many – but I now feel confident to move on to the second half of the novel as Jaz tackles the challenges that her new life presents As this character appears in my first novel ‘Holly’s Hub’ I have spent over two years with her and feel like we are in this together and I am looking forward to the final resolution as I’m feeling rather guilty for putting her through the mill 🙂 

Writing ‘peacefully’ during lockdown has been far from easy. After a few lines the cat started trying to sit on my keyboard and then my daughter asked if I would write outside as she wanted to learn some new dance tricks – the tricks being hands free handstands and flips and didn’t want to be out there alone. Then hubby came out – after seeing that we were in the garden – he felt left out. Not that I mind the family time – it’s been a real task to get the teenager out of her bedroom all week. Then hubby asked daughter to cut his hair. Considering all of the interruptions I still managed a couple of thousand words down. 

Slowly but surely I will inch toward my goal.

Suzanne

 

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I’ve not blogged for some time and instead have been adding updates on Facebook. Journaling is  useful for personal development and it’s a great way to check on my progress – so I’m back at it.

This year I have worked on the final edits to Holly’s Hub – the first book in my romance series, set in a fictional Somerset village. I am now half way through the first draft of book two, which has the working title ‘Jaz’. It is about Holly’s best friend who is a career woman, on a mission to make her first million, when her life is turned upside down and she has to face her past. I really liked the character of Jaz and she added light humour to Holly’s Hub – although this is trickier now she is the main character and she’s having troubles of her own. She also swears a lot – so I am having to deal with that without having pages full of blue words. Which I am sure would put a lot of readers off. I’m placing her in positions where she is not able to swear.

I am also thinking about book three and introducing characters, which will have a key part on the third novel.

The actual writing has not been as easy during lockdown with the family at home and I have had a week off while I decluttered the house. Now everything is tidy and in its place I am getting back to it. I usually write outside of the house at Weatherspoons or Brewers Fayer so have now claimed our second lounge (pictured above) as my writing space. The door is closed because hubby has taken to playing his vinyl and early Queen is reverberating through the house. My daughter is above me having a hip hop Zoom dance lesson so the light fitting is shaking. And the cat was clawing at the door until I let her in. However, I am determined to get the words down.

Wish me luck and I will update my blog with my progress.

Let me know below how your lockdown writing is going.

Suzanne