[Note: this blog entry contains a Q&A format designed to break an otherwise rambling post into discrete chunks of ... well ... chunkiness.]
I got most of the way through the 2nd complete draft of the JASPER novel before it started unraveling on me -- again!
I hate it when that happens! I realized that what I was writing had deviated from the plan. This was not due to my not being able to follow a plan. The problem was the plan itself was lacking (*gasp*) in spite of substantial work on redeveloping it before commencing the 2nd draft!
Was there any clue this was going to be the case?
As I mentioned previously in my blog, I had found a few minor plot holes along the way while writing the 2nd complete draft, nothing that couldn't be fixed by minor editing, but by the later part of the story there were major fissures, at least to my sensitive plotting sensibilities.
What to do about it?
Rather than finish a draft that was no longer working, I saved myself another 10k of drivel and went back to the drawing board. Result: I have revamped the plot YET AGAIN and this time (like last time) I could almost swear I've got it down perfectly. Result of the result: I have already launched DRAFT THREE, which is off to a good start.
Is there any good news?
The plus in all this is that I'm pushing my way through, keeping up the productivity. Now that I'm back to work after my extended Creative Break, I'm willing to take on the yoke of productivity and keep on wearing it until I get results. I want this novel FINISHED and am willing to plug away at it until I get there.
This seems rather goal-oriented?
Yes, I'm striving for a finished product here. I've been working at my writing in earnest for a few years now and in spite of having completed a veritable mountain of work, I have not yet produced one completely finished manuscript. That will change soon. It must! I'll keep at it this time. I have the bull by the horns and I'm not letting go.
What's different in the current plan compared to the previous plan?
I removed the second POV (the character and events are still there, just not those 2nd POV chapters). The story unfolds now again as it did in the first draft, all events being filtered through the MC's POV. Also, I have downplayed and will probably totally remove the one other significant subplot. I have kept the improvements of the 2nd draft while simplifying the story.
Why the need to simplify?
I realize that the length recommended for Middle Grade fiction (30k - 40k) is too short for me to include all the pieces of the original story. By simplifying somewhat, I have pared it down to the essentials, which are still more than enough for a solid story. It's liberating to see the broad clear strokes of the major plot line as they sweep across the canvas of the entire story ... without all the other distractions that used to be there. I had made the story too complicated (something I tend to do). It's like Spring Cleaning without the Spring or the Cleaning. Feels good once it's over.
Is there any other good news?
Another plus in this new work is that I'm separating in my mind the difference between the macro and micro levels. I've always understood the concept, but I haven't been strict in applying it. First, I have to edit on the macro level, making sure the story works and all the pieces fit together and there is nothing unnecessary in the plot. Then, when the story holds together well, I can shift to the micro level and edit the actual words on the page. I've wasted time doing micro editing on stories that still have macro problems, and, well, that's a waste of time.
What is the next deadline?
I plan to finish this draft within December. The word count will probably run long, up to 60k or more, because I tend to run long with word counts. That's okay. I just need to get all the way through knowing that the story I've written fits the story I need, and all the pieces are in place ("macro bliss"). Once I achieve that, I can then focus on editing and rewriting/deleting to pare it down and bring out the good stuff.
How will visitors to this blog know you are on track?
I'll blog about my progress of the 3rd draft and will hopefully be able to report that this time my plan held all the way through. If so, macro bliss will be mine and the final assault can begin.
Say good night, Gracie.
Wishing everyone well with their continued word counts through the Holiday Season,