I’ve been playing around with a words a bit lately and having a lot of fun, but I’ve decided that it’s time to get to work!
I have a first draft finished. I’m confident in the story and I’m excited enough about it that I want to take it all the way. It’s been a while since I finished the first draft, so I’ve spent the last week or so getting back into my notes and re-reading.
There are a lot of problems. I see nothing that can’t be fixed, but it won’t fix itself. It needs a serious rewrite and here’s how I plan to get it done!
The problems (The one’s I’ve spotted so far):
– It’s not long enough (it’s 60K, and I’m aiming for 90 to 100K. Luckily, there’s enough to the story that I should be able to hit that target with just a little work)
– The ending is VERY weak and too abrupt (this started as a NaNoWriMo novel. I think once I hit 50K, my energy went downhill and that affected the story).
– Other than the protagonist, the other characters are not fleshed out.
– The villain’s motivations are not clear
– There are missing subplots (filling them in should help with my word count)
– There are plot holes that I could drive a truck through. (Luckily, I’ve had many good ideas on how to fill those in.)
– The first draft is just one long text. There are no chapters. (Boy, did I learn a lesson then!)
My plan of action:
(cue action music!)
The following steps are to be done BEFORE writing a single word of the story.
1. Re-read (again) the first draft. Take notes.
2. Plot out the sequence of events as written.
3. Flesh out all my characters. Understand them. (Heck, I’ve seen tons of articles recommending I interview them, I might do that.)
4. Re-plot and re-sequence as needed and write a very detailed outline. Map out the different chapters and the different scenes within each chapter (yWriter 5 is amazing for this. I highly recommend it.)
5. Based on estimated word count in my outline, flesh out the subplots.
6. Back up, back up, back up. (I lost a year’s worth of notes when I lost a USB key. Never again.)
Only once I finish all those steps will I allow myself to start writing. I used to think I was a discovery type writer but I’ve learned over the course of 5 NaNoWriMo attempts that I do MUCH better with a detailed outline.
Once I have an outline and a plan, I can write easier and it’s easier for me to write in small chunks of time. If I have a decent outline I don’t have to write my story in a linear fashion, I can just work on whatever part suits the time I have (I can whip up a small scene in a half hour chunk, or if I find I have the afternoon I can tackle a longer, more intricate bit).
I’ve been jotting down ideas and notions willy-nilly for the past week. The momentum in my head is building. Starting today I am organizing it all and getting to work. I expect to finish the steps outlined above within the week and for actual writing to start immediately after.
Assuming that all this works out (and I have no reason to think it won’t), I am aiming for a solid 1000 words a day on the rewritten manuscript.