Saturday, January 30, 2010

Trying to finish all those loose ends

I've read quite a bit about novel-writing technique, plot structure, character development, etc. in my journey to this point. What I haven't come across is a way to keep my mind IN my story when I'm only working on it a few hours a week. Honestly, I typically only write new stuff on Sunday afternoons/evenings, and each Sunday I spend a couple hours just trying to get back into the zone. I reread what I wrote in recent weeks and try to figure out what will happen next. (I've long since thrown out my outline.)
This weekend to the rescue. Today, I went to a "Writer's Retreat" at the Fatima Center in Dalton, where I did nothing but read all 220+ pages of my manuscript consecutively. My goal was to get my head in the story and figure out how it will end. I jotted notes about plot or character seeds I planted along the way, and then I took each character and planned the changes I wanted to see in each of them at the story's conclusion. The final scenes of the plot line became obvious. I wrote down the scene ideas before they vaporized.
I hope to get them in writing - starting right after church tomorrow. I don't want to lose the story again.


  1. I'm really bad about doing it DURING, but as I approach the end and do that 'read to remember' thing, i find it VERY helpful to write a one-line sentence for each section so you have a 3 page document that summarizes the whole darned thing. That ALSO helps with editing, as you have some great idea at the end, but it requires XYZ happened way back when ABC first 123 (I know you must know what I mean) and your handy note pages now tell you where to look for that section that now needs editing.

    This phenomenon you speak of though, is why I am such a firm believer in EVERY DAY, even if you only have half an hour. (NaNoWriMo was fairly amazing because it kept this from happening).

    Of course I'm going through it NOW, but it's because I took a break to polish something else and got sidetracked.

  2. I really like your 'one-line sentence per section' idea. The importance of that is obvious now that I'm near the end. Note to self for my next novel.
    The daily writing philosophy is logical and obvious, but harder to implement that I would have thought. As I push to the finish line, I'm going to subscribe to it. I hope.