Theory and Practice
I don’t outline the whole book at once – or at least, I didn’t outline A Box of Ink all at once. I shouldn’t talk like I’ve written a library.
Here is what I did do: (more…)
Pacing and Chapters
Time for more math. Or, as our British friends insist, “maths.” (more…)
To sum up: you’ve broken your manuscript up into four manageable acts, having come up with good beginnings and good endings for each act. More to the point, this is how I’ve done it with A Box of Ink. You can do whatever you want, of course. But it’s NaNoWriMo, and I can cruise through a 2000 word count in a couple of hours no problem with this system.
It’s probably too late in the month for you to apply this method, but whatever.
I’ve finished the first act of A Box of Ink in its preliminary draft and am now moving on to the second. Given my September-or-so’s series on structure, I thought it would be worth describing how I’m outlining, mainly because I feel like I’ve learned how to do it all over again.
Back in the good old days of elementary school, I learned that outline looked like this:
- I. Main topic #1
- Supporting idea #1
- i. Proof or example
- ii. Proof or example
- iii. And so on
- 2. Supporting idea #2
- 3. And so on
- II. Main topic #2
- 1. And so on
This is what my outlines look like now. (more…)
After a serious surge in reading, I’ve been trying to focus more on writing over the past week or so. Result: as of last night, I’ve finally got a solid first draft of The House of Clicquot, so I can put that away for a bit and get back to the prose work of Effigy. I’ve also been doing a lot of research and drafting on my next MonsterFest entry, which isn’t due until the 24th or so, but there’s a lot of background to sphinxes. The running start has been helpful. Also, there’s the Rule of 3 blogfest (new prompts up today), and Rachael Harrie’s final challenge will be Monday, when I’m out of town but theoretically wi-fi-enabled.
I meant to post this on Monday. I managed to pre-write my ginger beer posts, but in spite of bringing writing along with me on a vacation-ish couple of days with Lisa, all I did was read. And hang out with friends. And watch MST3K and go on hikes and see some really, really amazing artwork.
We started off with friends in Brooklyn (check out Dave’s weekly blog on animation and careers in animation and news on his award-winning memoir short here), then off to ye olde Newe Englande to visit archivist and experimental filmmaker extraordinaire Rich Remsberg, and Lisa Nilsson, who is one hell of an amazing artist (sing the title of this piece to get the pun).
Structure identifies how we parlay dramatic tension – I think about it in terms of scenes and acts because I come to prose by way of stage plays, and conveniently it’s a common way of describing screenplays as well.
In conflict-driven stories (which is what most YA books are), we are trying to build steady interest and make sure that our readers don’t set the book down. Nevertheless, we want to give them a chance to breathe. We can’t run page after page through fights and chases and terror. It’s exhausting.
This is not an in-praise-of-one and excoriate-the-other kind of post. It’s really a question of the kind of story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.