Now that I’ve got Emily’s Affair out of the way on its road to publication on Amzaon, I’m headed on to the next book that is in need of completion–Seducing Elise. And where does this manuscript need help? In the middle. It needs lots and lots of help in the middle. Especially when you consider that I wrote the beginning and end to it, but not the middle. LOL, that was fun.
So how am I going to fix the middle? Well, it goes something like this.
A while ago, I mentioned a craft book that fascinated the analytical side of my brain (Evan Marshall’s Marshall Plan for Novelists) to a fellow writer. I was fascinated by this book, because it spoke to the left side of my brain. Something that a lot of other craft books simply can’t manage. If you haven’t checked out this book, then you might want to. Especially if you have a tendency to be a bit methodical in your writing ways.
But back to the discussion I had with the fellow writer. I showed her the craft book and described the technique that Marshall suggests. Then I flipped to what I now consider “the magical table” in the book. (And yeah, if you toss my copy on the table, it will consistently open up straight to the table. That’s how much I love it.) The table is an amazing tool that gives you a guideline of how many sections should be in a specific word count book (based on you writing a set amount of words per section). It suggests to you how many POV characters there should be. And how many sections in the beginning, middle, and end of any book. It’s like a road map! A beautiful road map that I’d had on the shelf for more than a few years.
It sat on the shelf, because I couldn’t figure out how to use it to craft the story that I was trying to tell. Enter now the discussion with the fellow writer. She went out and bought the book. Then something interesting happened. We used this book in conjunction with other plotting techniques (such as, the Six Stage Structure by Michael Hauge, GMC by Deb Dixon, and Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey) that had captured our interest (as character driven story tellers). What we discovered was that you can layer the Six Stage Structure over the Marshall Plan’s section breakdown and actually see how many scenes to put in the beginning, middle, and end of a book. Not only that, but you can map character growth between Identity and Essence between the stages which makes it so you can figure out how many scenes you need to do that so the book will flow in a logical manner and… ohmiword, this means that with the right GMC that my left brain can figure out how many scenes to put in the middle to prevent sag. Which means no more sagging middles. Woohooo!
There is, naturally, more to this nifty little epiphany than I’ve described up above. But I can tell you that this is the technique that I’m using to map out the character growth for my upcoming books. And yeah, I’ve got three of them on deck, with a bitch of a deadline attached to each of them. It’s a good thing I enjoy working under the pressure of a deadline. LOL So I’ll do my best to keep y’all updated with how this works for me and hopefully by the first week in August I’ll have Seducing Elise up on Amazon as well!
Until next time… take care and happy writing!