Friday, June 23, 2006

Up to the Challenge

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Wow. What a week! I am officially of day five of my six week writing challenge and when I am done today, I will have nearly a hundred typed pages done. I will admit that I have NOT been writing thus far in rough draft form, but I think that’s coming as I get closer to the middle. I don’t think anyone has been as surprised by my rapid progress as I am.

I doubt I can keep it up at this rate the full six weeks, but at 10 pages a day, it will only take me 4 weeks. I’m really just paying it forward for the days I know I won’t be able to write. I did pick the six worst weeks of the year, so it pays to get ahead. I have a wedding in Oregon, two business trips, July 4th, a HOD meeting and Nationals in Atlanta during week six. Thank goodness I rescheduled my Lasik to August!)

I have done well so far, though. I really do have to attribute my success to a late night at the Krispy Kreme and a lazy Sunday spent in front of my story board. Angel and Instigator met me for a Girl’s Night Out in celebration of Angel’s birthday. After dinner and a movie, we headed to Krispy Kreme for dessert – one of the only places in Northern Alabama open after 9PM. :) We spent two hours over hot sticky glazed goodness discussing my new book. We answered all the tough questions like - what would make a 2500 year old virgin finally break down and give “it” up?

The next day, I typed up my notes. I had to let it sink in for a day (primarily because of my baby sister’s birthday extravaganza) but on Sunday, when DB passed out on the couch, I dug out my story board.

My storyboard is made from one of those tri-fold science fair poster boards. It’s broken into 20 squares (one for each chapter) then covered in color-coded post it notes. Sure, I could do this on paper, but I really like the sticky notes. I can just move stuff around from chapter to chapter when I’m still thinking about the story and not have to scratch out or erase anything. So, I thought and I moved and I looked at my holes and I thought some more. I shouldn’t admit that I sat at the kitchen table for two hours doing this, but I did.

When it was done, I used the storyboard to write a chapter by chapter outline of my book. So far, I’ve been able to stay pretty close. Amazing what a little pre-planning can do.

If you're a writer, what's your favorite pre-planning tool? Character interviews? Collage? Spider charts? If you're a reader, what are the key features that an author has to capture in their story to keep you interested? (So I can make sure I have it in there :p )


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
25,000 / 70,000


Playground Monitor said...

With the short stories I've done so far, it's been an outline of the major story points, a timeline of the action, and if it involves more than two people, a family tree of sorts with everyone's name so I can keep them all straight.

I do have some hero and heroine photos for my stalled novel. And a chapter by chapter outline of the story. I tried the character interview technique but they didn't want to cooperate. They clammed up. :grin:

What's a spider chart?


Instigator said...

I swear by Discovering Story Magic, a workshop by Robin Perrini (and someone else I can't remember her name and don't have the handout in front of me). I'm not much of a pre-planner - something I should probably work on. But this is well worth the time it takes me to do. As I go through the grid scenes and ideas will usually come to me so while I don't have everything planned out I do usually have a sketchy idea on how I get from A to Z.

Congratulations on getting so much done!! You're blazing through.


Smarty Pants said...

Ok - Everybody must be writing because its DEAD quiet around here.

I'm up to page 94 - that's 12 pages so far today.


Smarty Pants said...

Whoo! Make that 100 pages baby - 18 today!


Angel said...

Okay, you've officially made me sick! Did you really already hit 100 pages?!? So not fair.

Anyway, I also love the Discovering Story Magic workshop handout, because as I'm going through I discover key scenes that I plot out.

I tried the character interview thing and promptly forgot all the info in there. I'm loving my story collage instead. Adding to it every day as the story develops.

I haven't actually accomplished a lot of pages today, though I've worked on my story a lot. I know I'm not supposed to backtrack, but the scene that I've gotten stalled on had something wrong with it. I'm going back and changing the immediately previous scene so that I can move forward again.

I know, that is a no no, but it is important enough to the story line that I'm doing it anyway. But I'm still going to get to my page goal, since the last few days have been a little low.

Don't worry, Smarty Pants. Everyone must just be out for Friday.

Yeah, I want to know what a spider chart is too. Is it one of those with the bubbles and you attach them with lines?


Smarty Pants said...

Sorry, Angel, but yeah, it's true. Believe me when I say I've never had a book flow this fast. But, as it goes, the first 100 is easy, the last hundred is less easy, and the middle hundred (which I'll be starting tomorrow) is the worst of all.


Kelley said...

I havent tired to story board but really want to on my next book.

Where in Oregon? I lived in Southern Oregon for a long time.

Smarty Pants said...

My best friend lives in Eugene, so I'm flying to Portland and driving down to Eugene. I have no idea where I'm actually going. :)