Forgot to check in for my unofficial participation in National Novel Writing Month yesterday, so this is a double post.
I wrote both days, but yesterday, after still going back and forth about the plot line of my novel, I decided to try a new tack. I needed something that could better help me see the whole story in one go, so I could better see the ebb and flow of the events and thus how the story played out without all the detail. So, I tried something I read about a while ago in an author’s interview. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the author (thank you, whoever you were), but this is something I know many authors do and I would now recommend — and something I think I will always do.
The author had said she (I do remember it was a she, but again, I’m sure plenty of other authors do this in one form or another) took out a calendar and wrote down which days events in her story happened so she could see the timeline and make sure the days all made sense. Good reason. But for me, I suspected doing a timeline — the really brief kind you see in National Geographic about global warming or something — would help me see the whole story better. So, I opened a new Word document, split the page into two columns and on one side I wrote Day 1, Day 2, etc., and on the other side I wrote the corresponding events. I also drew a seven-day grid on a piece of paper and noted the days that activity happened so I could see at a glace if it made sense that such and such an event happened three days before another related event.
This has been the most useful exercise I have done in a while on this novel. I’ve already come up with fixes to smooth out the story, and the best part is, I can easy move around events to see what works best before I edit the chapters. I haven’t completely finished the exercise yet and plan to tomorrow, then it’s back to revising the plot — but this time, I’ll have a plan.
Got any other plot revision tips?
P.S. I heard about a very interesting site the other day and wanted to pass it on: Authors Read, on Blog Talk Radio. It’s basically what the name says, a series of audio files of authors reading their own works. I haven’t had a chance to look around it much, but it seems like a great place to try out new books as a reader and, as an author, to promote your work to the public. Check out the site, and if you like it, support the authors on there by getting the word out.