Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Office Updates - now with Clouds

I got into the thick of revisions yesterday and was ready to pull my hair out because I couldn't lay out a framework for the story. I didn't have paper large enough. Of all things, right? So, around 1pm I slipped on some flip flops, put my terribly messy hair into a ponytail and went to the store for a dry erase board. I came home with that, and a cork board for pinning up note cards. I tell ya, I am going hardcore with this stuff.

While at the Wally World (the only store with office supplies in my "four" horse town), I noticed filing cabinets are marked down to $30.00. This weekend, I'm hauling Oldest with me, and I'm dragging one of those home to the writing cave.

Right now, my WIP is cut in half - literally. I'm focusing on the book in quarters rather than the whole thing all at one time. I'm doing this because I plan to revise this book once. That's it. No more than that. So, I have the first forth torn off the front of the book and arranged in linear format - 11 scenes, one optional scene that I'm not sure if I will keep. If I get through the rest of the book and find something that I can use to refer back, I'll add in a new scene there. Until then...that section is mapped, completed, and pinned to the wall.

I'm currently working on the second section (2/4), which ends at the mid point of the book. I'm breaking the story's bones at this point, rearranging scenes, further developing characters, taking stock of any subplots carried over from the first section, noting the ones that don't continue from the first section, and filling in all the scenes (that I have, and ones I need) on a cloud sheet.

I've created and printed up cloud sheets for the four parts of my book, each sheet has the correct number of "clouds" so I can write in the main action of each scene on a cloud. When I've filled out a sheet, I know I have exactly enough scenes to not only carry my action over to the next segment, I know I'm going to hit my target word count. For example, I need roughly 72 scenes to complete a 90k book. There are 60 scenes in my rough draft. I know before I've even started revising, that I'm missing 12 scenes. I can also see I'm missing these scenes from the 2nd and 3rd segments of my book.

When I get these sheets filled out, I will have a complete map of my book from start to finish. Then I will go through and do individual scene revisions - ONCE, and only once. Since I already know what is going on in every scene, this will be much easier to do.

When the book is finally reworked and ready to go, I can then use the cloud sheet to write my synopsis. Since each cloud holds roughly one sentence that describes the scene, each sentence added back to back is a totals up to a rough synopsis. I just have to clean up what's already there. No more busting my brain over the synopsis. Handy dandy, no?

I'll be adding these cloud sheets (blank, for users to print and fill up) as a free download on Scribd sometime this week. In case I forget to blog that I've added them, if you're wanting updates about if or whether the sheets have been uploaded yet, you can subscribe to me at Scribd. I think they message you when new documents are uploaded. Anyway, it's just a suggestion, subscription is not required to download.

I have a meeting tonight at the library. Apparently I'm still on the board at Headstart. It will give me a few minutes away from the house, away from writing, so I'm gonna go. After that, I'm hiding out in the writing cave for the rest of the week. I'm in the middle of the High Concept workshop, and I'm still preparing for boot camp. What can I say?  There's never a nothing-to-do moment. ~_^

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