Sunday, 20 July 2014

I Need a Hero!

I've finished the index cards for Sequence 1 of Act 1 - for anyone who's interested, I'm writing my scenes following the screenwriting/film Sequence model. I'll put some links to more information at the end of the post. Sequence 1 ended with the Inciting Incident - about half way through Act 1.

I'm still using Susan Dennard's revision process and working through the first draft index cards. I've identified the major turning points/story milestones on the existing cards and it's easier to see the gaps and missing story elements here instead of trawling through pages of typing.

I've also made myself some storyboards for each sequence and used some small post its to do something I learned from Jim Denney's "Writing in Overdrive" - brainstorming and clustering. This technique alone from that ebook has helped me develop the index cards for Sequence 1 and it was so much fun!

I wrote out all the elements I wanted to include - what had to happen, potential locations, props, characters involved - and then 'clustered' which means I put post its together with other post its if they felt like a good fit. It was great fun, painless, it felt quick (that's because it was so much fun!) and productive. My kind of writing exercise! :) A big thank you to Jim Denney for introducting me to this technique.

So now I'm at Sequence 2 and I hit a wall. Because this is where I introduce my love interest. And he's been a shadowy creature all along. I had stuff figured out for him, backstory etc., but it never felt right and he was planned just enough to give me my first draft. But now, for the revision, I need to know more. I need some concrete details and I need them to bring him to life. No more shadows, thank you.

What I do know, now that I've finished the first draft, is his role in the story, and how exactly he helps my heroine to deal with her flaw and wound. Two things I needed to write my first draft first to figure out. Now it's time to breathe some life into him as a character in his own right. That's my next step in the revision process.

Susan Dennard had an interesting post (, and it was a huge relief to find that I'm not the only one who uses a stand-in for the first draft until the details of what's required for the hero to be and do are known.

While all this has been going on in the background, I've been spray painting t-shirts that got stained (small children will tend to do that to clothes!), making over a jewellery holder (I'll post pics when it's finished), and I finished my sponsor post for ROW80. Phew!

And, as promised, here are some links to sequences:

Here is a link to a very helpful scene writing post and template by Caroline Norrington:

ROW80 goals update for the coming week:
  1. Make inroads into developing a living, breathing love interest;
  2. Finish at least 1 of the flash fiction I started;
  3. Check in with my ROW80 team.
Have you any advice on how and when you finalise the details for your hero/heroine/love interest?

And please visit some of the other ROW80 writers. :)


  1. Maybe your hero is shadowy because he has a dark side he's hiding from you! I just wanted to thank you again for such a useful comment on my blog. I love the energy and the resources you're talking about. Wonderful stuff. Keep on writing and sharing how. And have a great week.

  2. While you may not have a deep understanding of your hero as a person in his own right just yet, I'm betting you will, soon. You've certainly created a welcoming environment for him to reveal himself in!

    I've recently realized that many of my first drafts turn out to be very extended notes and explorations into the stories I intend to write in subsequent drafts, with bits of scenes and dialogue woven through. It's in the revision, the returning to what I wrote with time, experience, and the arc of the story in mind, that I can begin to really see the pattern and the way it's woven together.

    I'm betting that hero will be less shadowy soon (except for his Shadowy Places, of course!)

  3. @Beth: You're very welcome for the resources. They helped me no end, and sharing helpful resources with other writers makes me happy! :)

    I'm very excited about this main character, because I just have this feeling that he's so much more than I planned him to be before I wrote the first draft. And the fact that he's so shadowy could also be a big clue to who he is. Maybe he's a keep-to-himself kind of guy?! And then that saying "Still waters run deep" has just popped into my head, making me even MORE interested in this chap. The strong, silent type is my guess. :)

    I'll keep updating my progress anyway.

    Thank you for dropping by.

  4. @Shan: Your process sounds very similar to mine; this is more or less what my first draft looked like. (Of course, some writers would take a look at my first draft and say 'This isn't a first draft! This is chaos!!!') My first draft probably looks more like a plotters outline, but that's ok with me. Fast drafting helped me to peel back the layers on my story and figure out what the story was really about. And the revision is fun, putting all those elements together, and weaving the pattern, as you say.

    Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your process. :)

  5. You just reminded me that I've got a big whiteboard that I need to start using as a storyboard :)

    One of my weak points was character development so I learnt to ask a lot of questions about the character from their occupation to family life and hobbies and even what's in their fridge. Just so I can try to get to know them better.

  6. @Naomi: Character development usually isn't a problem for me, but for some inexplicable reason, this time, for this character, it is.

    All I can think is that he has some fantabulous secrets up his sleeve that are going to knock my socks off! :D


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