Stories require structure. No kidding, you say, but structure means more than a series of acts, a hero’s journey, and a beginning, middle and end. I have that. What occupies my focus now? Chapters!
When I put out the first book, initially, it contained over 120 chapters. Now, though, on this revision, it goes beyond word choice, plot issues or characters arches to how many chapters I want and how to group the scenes into a coherent whole that fits into the entire story but contains its own through line. Went digging to advice and discovered that exactly NONE of it helped. Which leads us to our first series, how am I restructuring my book. Will it help? I hope so. Will it give me a place to put the rage and frustration over what I fear will turn into to one of those processes I overthink and make worse for myself. Ab-so-lute-ly! Why you might wonder, does this issue cause me so much stress? It has to do with how I work.
Some writers can sit down and write a work from beginning to end, working in chronological order. Not me. I envy those writers. I do. Not that mu jealousy does me any good because the way I write, at least so far, does not look like this. My process, and I feel pretentious even using that word, but it describes it pest, involves jumping around. Let me step back to 2009.
The first think I wrote for the book I’m working on publishing, the first book of what turned into a trilogy, showed my main character, Lenore, getting fired. And, you guess it, no longer the first scene. I started building from there, trying to write the story as it went, but my mind rebelled. I would get ideas, some that got relegated to the darlings file every writer owns, but I would follow the inspiration. I’d been writing for maybe six months when I finally, FINALLY could see far enough ahead to get around to structure and working out the beginning, middle and end. I realized during this process I needed more than one book and boy did that bring up complicated emotions of excitement and cold-sweat fear. I also accepted that I needed to write how I write, and I create better by focusing on character. Cue in the 3 x 5 cards that made all this possible because I use them to keep track of the story arcs. I will then write several scenes in a row focusing on a character or storyline. It gets me a first draft that is a bunch of scenes that I somehow have to craft into a book. Welcome to a huge part of my time in revision land.