Here’s a pic of me not doing my writing (BAD, Stephen!), but kayaking alongside dolphins (not pictured) in Hilton Head, SC, July 2017.
I recently visited a friend I hadn’t seen in almost twenty years and one of the things she asked me was how my novel was coming along, and I realized this is exactly the reason why I need to post about this process on social media. If everyone knows I’m writing it, even friends I rarely get a chance to see, then it helps keep me focused.
So here’s an update.
In March I presented my draft to my writing group, the excellent and talented members of Jersey City Writers, and got some really useful feedback. I was slow in implementing it due to the demands at school, but once summer started it became my main focus. So help me God, I will have a revised draft finished by the end of summer, one that is ready to present to agents and publishers, or ready to publish on my own. We’ll see…
Part of the problem with my original draft was that I wrote it for NaNoWriMo without planning much of it out. Now, I love NaNoWriMo for all the enthusiasm it generates for writing, as well as the bonhomie it stirs up among those crazy enough to attempt writing a novel in a month. However, I am not a pantser in any other aspect of my life, so I shouldn’t have supposed I could be one as I novelist. I should have begun the process of writing this book with a formidably well-parsed outline.
But I didn’t.
So now I’ve taken the feedback from my writing group along with what I know of my characters and their general story, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time organizing the flow of their tale to address some of the readers’ issues, adding some rather dramatic plot points that seem so obvious now that I’m ashamed I left them out initially.
I did quite a bit of searching online for useful ideas as part of my outlining reformation, and I want to give a shout out to Katytastic, a YouTuber (kat_tastic on Twitter) whose video I found particularly helpful. I use Scrivener for most of my longer works of writing, and this video demonstrated a really smart way to outline using Scrivener’s features that I hadn’t used before. After watching her video and putting her strategies to work, my story seemed so much more solid.
Now that I’ve got it fleshed out a bit better, I’m back to writing it. And trust me, if you’re reading this blog right now, then I will let you and all the rest of the world know when it is finished, because as much as I love my dear little fictional Ohio town of Villandry, I’ve already got three more novels I’m itching to write and as many protagonists getting pissed off at me for taking so long.
And a memoir.
And maybe a play. We’ll see.
For now, though, please check out Katytastic’s “Outlining with Scrivener.” (BTW, I really can’t figure out why the link starts the video in the middle. I don’t seem to be able to correct it…but you can manage to drag it back to the beginning, right?)