Now that I have my short story collection in the can, I’m turning my attention to the first of my Spadena Street mysteries, BAR SINISTER. I wrote it as a short story, then expanded it one November into 60,000 words.
Last year, I put each scene separately into yWriter5, which I’m now very glad I did. Thanks, past me! Yesterday, I began moving through the scenes, and guess what? The beginning is BO-ring! For some reason, I had taken out all the tense bits and made it all Cat Who.
If you read the Cat Who books, you know what I’m talking about: Yada yada yada who’s doing what in our little town and where are they living and how have they redecorated? GOD, even I, who dislike confrontation and violence, want more than that!
SO ANYWAY, I went back to an older version of the book and found some ‘citing bits and popped ’em in. This is going to be rough, but I’m looking forward to it.
We were talking about plotting and outlining at Southern Indiana Writers last meeting, and T. Lee Harris said, “I outline books like I outlined themes in school: Write ’em first, and then take the outline from that.” I was like, “Yep, yep, yep.”
But here’s the thing: The basic structure of what happens in this story is already done. But I’m a-thinkin’ that a plot design or schematic or what-have-you will really help me nip and tuck this baby into the best shape to suit me. I’ll get a feeling of what needs to be trimmed, what needs to be fattened up, what needs to be shifted elsewhere.
Whether you call that plotting, editing, or massaging, some kind of plot mannequin is going to be useful.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Does your main character plan beforehand or reconcile and justify after the fact?