Well things have finally started to settle into a rhythm in all of my classes. Most of my students now have a clue about how the online class thing works, and I’ve got more time freed up to do things like…oh work on my book. 😀 Yay.
I spent the early part of the week taking all my character interviews and writing the Act 1 Outline. It comes out to 10 scenes, 5 chapters. That actually came together pretty easily (not a surprise, as Act 1 is pretty clear and has nothing to do with the Dreaded Valley of the Shadow of the Middle). Yesterday I took those scenes and put them into yWriter (my present favorite plotting tool). This morning I took the time to fill out my scene questionnaire for each one.
See, after reading Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, & Conflict, I really got into the idea of GMC, and using materials and concepts from her book, I made my own little worksheet to use on each scene to make sure I know why I’m putting it in the story. It’s brief–intended to identify which element(s) of GMC I’m addressing in the scene, give 3 reasons for the scene, and talk about how the character changes because of it, what aspects of his/her personality are revealed, what the stakes are, and whether or not it’s immediate. I was going to post the form on here for free, but there’s some stuff taken directly from Dixon’s book, and I don’t want to infringe on any copyright kind of stuff.
They’re certainly questions that can be applied to a scene after it’s written, and, in fact, Pot came up with several additional question that will be good for trouble shooting and fine tuning a scene. But since I’m trying to fully embrace the idea of plotting and eliminating the deadwood from my work, I want to know exactly why each scene is in the story, what function it serves. This is to avoid the trap of “what happens next” which is so easy for me to fall into. In theory, this should allow me to write a much tighter narrative without a lot of the tangental scenes and subplots I’m so prone to. I’ll be writing fewer words, but I’ll also, hopefully, be CUTTING fewer words. From an efficiency standpoint, I SHOULD have a net gain in usable material instead of the hundreds and thousands of words I have a tendancy to write and then ditch.
One thing I am learning this go round is that I am doing better work earlier in the day before my brain gets cluttered up with everything else with work and class. And, of course, when DH is not around to distract me. So I think when I get started with the actual writing, I’m going to make a lot of effort to get my words in before 5 o’clock so that I can do my school stuff during our TV time at night and then pay more attention to him (which leads to happier hubby). I will be interested to see how quickly the writing goes since I will know exactly what scene I am writing. I don’t foresee it going a whole lot faster (as I will always labor over word choice and such), but it will at least eliminate the hours of wondering “what now?” We shall see.
Next up, Act 2.