Friday, November 30, 2012


I have good news and bad news.

Good news: My first draft is done! Yipee!!!

Bad news: I hate my first draft. Hate, hate, hate.

I love my characters. I love my setting. I love my story. Love, love, love. I'm happy I've managed to put this many words on paper. They're good words too. I love 90% of my scenes.

However, I still hate my draft. It needs a LOT of work. I specially hate my three pivotal scenes. They're OK, but I need them to be great. They aren't where I want them to be. I also need to work on my plot arc. It needs excitement.

I'm trying to figure out what to change and where to start. I've been thinking and thinking about it, but haven't come up with a plan. I've been chasing my own tail for days. I need a new strategy.

I need to look at the book in a new way.  I'm going to try to draw out the plot and list my scenes. Bring out the magic markers!

Here we go:

Drawing the plot arch is a very helpful strategy. I can spot some  problems right away. I have a lot of dots (pivotal scenes) in the build-up and not that many dots in the resolution. Mmmm. I don't think my plot arch is supposed to look like that.

My build-up is nice and steady. I have several Pinch moments that lead smoothly up to the Dark Moment. It all flows nicely. Can you tell I had just finished reading Save the Cat? Of course you can.

I'm very happy with my build-up even though I can see some problems. My Inciting Incident needs work and I have no idea how to fix it. I just know it needs oomph. I also have a couple of scenes where I want to upgrade the settings. The current settings are "Coffee Shop" and "Office." Boring and boring. I need to come up with spiffier settings.

Overall, though, I'm pretty happy with the first half of my book. My big Turning Point/Dark Moment needs to be darker, but I think improving the build-up will fix that. I can work with this. It needs work, but most of it works.

My Resolution, however, is a complete mess. It's just a bunch of scenes strung together with no rhythm or structure. My big climax scene is flat and my HEA is lame. My characters deserve better. I'm really, really unhappy with my second half, and I think I need to re-read Save the Cat. I may have skipped a few crucial steps in the build-up to the confrontation. The second half of the book needs restructuring and lots of it.

More good news: I can't wait to get to it.

Drawing out the plot has been very helpful. I'm no longer chasing my own tail. I now have a plan. I'm also excited and energized. Who knew playing with markers would be so productive?

On to revisions!