Last week I added all the missing bits to my NaNo story, The Gathering, I fixed plot inconsistencies, scenes out of order and I developed a time line. You can read about it here.
This week it’s time to move onto plot. This is when I go right back to where it all started – when I brainstormed and plotted my novel before I’d even written the first word.
This is where I go back to my brainstorming on butcher’s paper and my rough plot arc. It’s where the notes I made while writing the novel also come in handy.
This is where I add new plot points and fix those that aren’t working right. Sometimes I remove plot points that are slowing the story down or complicating it too much.
At every new draft I re-examine the plot and try and be ‘objective’ about the structure. Having the whole plot on a piece of paper in front of me helps me get my head around the whole story and identify what’s working and what’s not.
I start to link my brainstorming balloons according to theme and this helps me identify whether my themes are coming through strongly enough. This helps me see the weight I’ve given to each plot thread/theme. I work on the ones that need more emphasis and scale back the ones that have become too prominent.
The diagrams I have shown relate to my book, Letters to Leonardo not my current work in progress.
Sometimes there is too much happening in my plot and I realise I need to get rid of some of the complicating factors and look deeper into the main plot points and develop them more. Janice Hardy has a great post about looking deeper in to plot. It’s all about looking into how the action relates to your protagonist.
In this week’s editing I will look at the main pieces of action and ask myself:
- Have I built up the tension enough?
- Do the plot points advance the story logically?
- Do the plot points reveal character and build towards the climax?
- Is the climax big enough?
- Have I thrown my characters deep enough into conflict? (I’m someone who avoids conflict in real life and I have a tendency to let my characters do the same.)
- Will the resolution be satisfying to the reader?
- As The Gathering is the first in a trilogy I need to also look at whether it stands alone as a story and whether it can lead on to the next book.
In future editing I will be looking at whether the plot reflects the motivations and needs of my characters – whether what they do reflects who they really are.
Next week in the editing process I’ll be looking deep into character and voice. Hope you can join me then.
I’d love to hear how you rework your plot during the editing process. Feel free to share your tips and experiences.
Happy writing and editing:)