For the entire month of January, my author and I are enrolled in a workshop called EditPalooza at Savvy Authors (http://www.savvyauthors.com/). For those of you who are familiar with Savvy Authors, you may already be aware that I cannot say enough wonderful things about this community. For those of you who are not members and who have been considering joining, let me just say that my author has been a member since February 2009 and has not regretted joining this lovely forum once since then. Why? For a myriad of reasons, but the biggest for us is that this author-muse duo writes across multiple genres and Savvy is a one-stop shop for us to gather information, learn, and keep abreast of sub genre related information.
Now I know I could (and you might be expecting me to) wax philosophical for hours on why I’m extraordinarily happy that my author shelled out the very reasonable membership fee to join Savvy Authors, but today isn’t infomercial day so I’ll refrain… for now. But beware, it’s very likely that I will mention my glee at being a member of this group soon… especially considering that the time for me to renew my dues to the multiple groups I’m a part of is fast approaching.
But back to the workshop and our journey through EditPalooza land. First up—the workshop has homework. And while most folks may cringe at the notion of homework, this author does not. Of course, this author could also be labeled as a professional student and has been known to read a history book for (shudder and gasp) fun and relaxation—but that’s another diatribe for a completely different day.
So back to the homework… before entering the class, my author took a serious look at the manuscripts (mss) she has littering her hard drive. This again is something we’ve mentioned before—there are a LOT of them. In various states of completion. With the majority of them possessing a viable story line—each of which has the potential to be a fun and exciting read. (Hooray for that.)
But for the class, my author could only choose one of them.
It was a long, hard (agonizing) decision that took more than a week to make, but finally one (and only one) was picked. The one manuscript (ms) that was chosen was one that we had NOT worked on in a while. Actually, the ms was last messed with (according to the time-date stamp) back in 1998 (December 18, 1998 to be precise).
The name of the ms? Seducing Elise. This ms is a contempory (M/F) romance with a marriage of convenience plot. If you’re interested in an excerpt from it, just check out the link up above.
So anyway, back we go to my author’s decision to work on S-E-. Truth be told, the majority of the book was written in ’98, but the last half of the book was out of order. Mostly because after arriving at the middle of the book and the point of no return, my dear, dear author couldn’t figure out which way she wanted to go with the big event. So she skipped it and just started writing what she was seeing and hearing—all along thinking, I’ll go back and fix it later. Of course, she didn’t expect that later wouldn’t arrive for 12 years, but it’s all good. The point is that it did arrive and now she’s figured out how to arrange the last half of the book.
With the help of the homework dished out in EditPalooza.
AND with the help of two very dear friends (Sandra Allan and Qwillia Rain). I cannot thank these two incredible writers enough for their words of wisdom and taking the time to ask the right questions. (BTW, before I forget, if you’re into the hot, hot, HOT reads, go check out Qwillia’s latest book Rite of First Claim. (http://www.loose-id.com/Diablo-Blanco-Club-Rite-of-First-Claim.aspx) I love what she has going on in this series of hers and the world she’s built and… that hero makes me smile. A LOT.)
But back to my reason for posting… when I was struggling with the 2nd homework assignment in EditPalooza, Q- smacked me upside the head and reminded me of a very useful tool out there for writers of all genres. (Something that I can’t thank her enough for doing.) The tool is explained far better than I could ever explain it on this site: http://www.screenplaymastery.com/structure.htm
This tool works for me. Why? Because as Sandra will most likely be more than happy to point out, I am OCD list girl. If it’s not on a list, it doesn’t get done. With Michael Hauge’s story structure, I can make a list out of my plot and character growth. AND capture the turning points. AND see where my character grows to move from his identity (which he in fully in at the beginning of the book) to his essence. So for me, having the ability to document the 11 steps necessary to peel back an onion to get to the center of a tootsie pop… is invaluable as a writer.
So, my dear readers, if you are struggling with the story structure for your novel, check out Michael Hauge’s 6 stages to story structure. It just might help you find the missing link to your plot.
Oh and before I forget, I was able to use Hauge’s structure to write out the series arc for my paranormal Tales of WOE series. Which leaves me uber excited to get to work on it—after I finish fixing Seducing Elise.
Until next time… good luck and happy writing!