I have a confession to make.
My writing has come to a screeching halt and I feel like I’m balanced on the edge of a chasm, windmilling my arms, trying not to fall into the abyss.
Oh, ok – maybe that’s a little melodramatic.
But you get my point, right?
You may remember back a few weeks ago, when I realized an essential mistake with my worldbuilding that resulted in having to get rid of my outline for the middle of my novel?
That gaping hole in my manuscript is the abyss.
I know essentially what I want to happen at the end (which may or may not survive, depending on what I write for the middle), but how I get there has been up in the air. So, I scurried back to my little collection of writing how-to books and clinic material. Had a little heart-to-heart with my Muse. Then got to work.
This time, I’m finding Donald Maass’s How to Write the Breakout Novel Workbook particularly helpful. I knew I was terribly thin in certain areas. Specifically, my Bad Guy and Big Bad Guy and how they both fit into the plot. (I spent more time focused on the Bad Guy and ignored the Big Bad Guy. Except that my Bad Guy turned into Whining Guy and I knew I was in trouble.) The workbook definitely helped me flesh out these areas.
Maass has this knack for really helping you see things clearly. I love how he has you consider the basic personality traits of your character and then makes you look at the opposite qualitites, and figure out why and under what circumstances the character would show those traits. It makes for more well-rounded characters and helps with that all-important concept of “the twist.”
The problem I’m having is: now that I understand my characters better, how do I translate that into specific scenes? Today, I just happen to be drawing a blank. But I can feel some of the characters starting to rap on my skull. I’ll take that as a good sign.
Next up: Plot. My own, personal, many-tentacled monster. Trying to find a nice balance without going all Robert Jordan on my novel makes me shake in my crocs.
I’m hoping that taking this time now to slow down and sort things out will allow me to write at break-neck speed later.
That’s the plan, anyway…