Wednesday, 17 April 2013

ROW80 Midweek Check In - 17 April

The writing streak is still continuing - and the main reason for the success is that I picked a goal I believed I could reach. 4 handwritten foolscap pages per day is doable. The other reason for the success, of course, is due to me following the advice in the poster I put together especially for Camp NaNo - "Just Do It!" (Otherwise known as: Butt-In-Chair.)

Tonight I wrote the scene that is the inciting incident. And it didn't quite pan out the way I'd thought. I'd imagined Emer (yup, she's Emer again. I've changed her surname though, so she's not a 1 in numerological terms) purposefully striding towards the event that makes up the inciting incident. But what actually happened is that her grandmother's cat went on the attack and she stumbled into the situation. Interesting development.

The more I write about her, the more I'm coming to know her, too. And I like that.

There are a few things I'm doing this time round on the stalled novel that I've not done before. The first part of my pre-planning involved fitting some key plot points into the W plot arc. (Do you know this? I read about it in Mary Caroll Moore's "Your Novel Starts Here".) My aim was to first of all find the pivotal scenes that fit into the arc. This was easy enough as I already had an idea of some big scenes, and then I could see just how these scenes fit into the bigger picture.

Another technique I'm using from Moore's book is the idea of an island list. An island is a piece of writing that is written in isolation to any other piece, but which is part of the whole, although the link between the islands will only be recognised when they're all written. It's a wonderful way to discover the depths of the story - where theme and arc and motivations reside. I brainstormed a list of islands prior to Camp NaNo and started writing one each evening. Sometimes they inspired a follow up scene. Sometimes they inspired more islands where I could see the scene I was working on would have a mirror equivalent near the end of the novel.

And this post is getting long (and my husband is making growly sounds in the background because this is actually his laptop I'm using) so I shall bid you all Good Evening and hope you've been having a productive few days. :)


  1. I love hearing about people's processes! Thank you so much for sharing.

    I too do the "island list" thing, though I didn't have a term for it until I read your post. I don't know about this W thing though. Is it representative of the rise and fall of tensions/climaxes in the story?

  2. Hi Sione, yes, the W art starts with the inciting incident at the first point on the W and the problem situation is set up until the pivotal scene at the first low point on the W - which coincides with the end of Act 1 (so it's the first plot point, if you are following Larry Brooks at Story Fix). Then the protag takes steps to try and solve the problem which culminates at the second high point on the W and the end of Act 2 I (or the midpoint of the novel). At that point the protag thinks he has solved the problem (or he HAS solved the problem) only to discover that there's more going on than he realised. From that point the problem gets even worse until the protag reaches the second low point on the W - the end of Act 2 II and the second plot point. From the beginning of Act 3 the protag goes all out to solve the problem and the story finishes at the last high point on the W which is the resolution scene.

    Hope this helps! :)


Hi! I love reading new comments so thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to get back to you to continue the conversation. :)