Last week I cranked out 4.5 chapters of my new book idea!
That’s so much! I don’t know how many words that is because I haven’t pulled it into my “official” writing software yet, but it’s a lot. I write around 2-3k words per chapter (usually closer to 3 if I can help it) which turns out to be around 6 or 7 pages of a document. I’m just flying through the beginning of this thing. This is not my normal pace! I am a solid 500 words MAYBE if I can in a good sitting. For me to be cranking out this many is bringing me back to my high school days where me and my best friend would take up residence in a Starbucks for 3 hours and crank out 6k words of crappy fiction for nothing but sheer joy. Only thing that’s changed is my preference in coffee shops, the amount of words, and the fact that the friend in question is now on a completely different coast…(hi boo!)
Why am I flying through it?
Because I’m inspired. This usually happens right in the beginning or for the bigger scenes. I get the first 3-5 or even first 7 chapters written and then I just…slowly lose steam. Like the sad little engine that can’t make it up the hill. And then honestly, I roll back down the hill thinking it was the beginning that messed me up. But not this time!
This time I have a plan!
I’ve hit the point where I need to actually plan out where I’m going with this thing. That’s where my tools come in. I’ve taken so many classes, online and in-person and through books, that I have the tools already to make it through writing the first draft of a book. I’ve done it already. TWICE. I’ve got this! (Come on little writing engine you can do this!)
So, I’ve figured out that I like this idea enough to get me nearly 12k words (if I’m doing my math right). I’ve figured out the internal conflict for my main character. What I need now is a solid plan of attack to keep from getting that feared “flabby middle” that writers always hear about in novel writing courses. That means, I need to make sure that the tension stays high and that things stay interesting.
To the plot embryo!
I’ll report back when I’ve got the plot embryo worksheet filled out, but for now I’ve got my main protagonist’s misbelief and final “truth” established, as well as comfort and conflict zones.
This thing absolutely SAVES me when it comes to plotting. It’s the entire story plotted on one page! There are a few caveats. It’s only one line of the story, i.e. one character’s singular goal/storyline. If they have more than one goal, or if you have more than one character, you may need to do more than one or at least make sure they interact in the right ways. For example, antagonist goals and plots CONFLICT with protagonist goals and plots, etc.
These worksheets are a visual way to pre-outline and I love it. I say pre-outline because you aren’t truly working out ALL of the scenes. So it gives a lot of room for creativity while prepping with structure (my type of outlining tbh).
This whole thing is Rachael Stephen’s brainchild so please give her some love if you buy the template or take her free course on it! I’m linking the original video below which is an oldie but goldie.
What type of tools do you use to get your plot keeping tension throughout without losing the thrill of first draft creation? Any fun writing courses you’ve taken?