Getting the story in line

character map2I have a story I have been working on for about a year now. I return to it every now and again to continue the storyline, to develop the characters with the ultimate aim of finishing a book. At one stage I wrote steadily for X words a day and it was my most productive.

The trouble is, at this stage everything is half baked. I have a grand idea in place for the ending but I have grown detached from the characters and the world. This has led to me opening the file and rereading the previous five pages to get a feel for what is to come. The problem is I no longer feel in control. REMEDY. I’m going to write out on paper the journey so far for each character. That way I have a base to jump from again, it will disentangle all the subplots and other issues allowing me to hook back in to the world and direct the next move for each person.

If I don’t do that I risk sitting at my laptop and continuing a story uninformed. I know a lot of people have their own techniques to writing in terms of how they structure the story and set things up. I’m quite freeform but with definite end points for characters (usually!) which gives me room to breathe creatively but not aimlessly. So with that in mind I’m off to establish a firm character arc.

On with the show!

8 Comments

  1. I empathise with your situation as I’m continually going back to finish and improve something I first wrote, well, more than ten years ago anyway. maybe I’ll try your proposed solution.

    1. Just because it’s 10 years old doesn’t mean you won’t finish it – sometimes stories develop better when aging and being added to gradually.
      I’m finding now I work that I struggle to have the mental energy to write, but hopefully that’ll change.

  2. Sometimes losing control is a good thing – if the story and characters take over and send you off writing madly. Other times I find an outline is best to figure out where you are going and how to foreshadow etc. I think your idea of writing out the characters’ lives is an excellent one – I do something similar (and find myself eliminating characters if there are too many for the reader to hold onto). One other thought – see if maybe you have too many subplots.
    {All this advice from someone who has three books ( I should just be honest and call them ideas) going and feel somewhat blocked on all of them!}

    1. Three potential books – that’s great!
      And yes subplots are very easy to spiral out of control to the point where they become foreground material, another thing I need to keep an eye out for. Thanks for swinging by.

  3. I wrote the Record Killer and it took me a year of back and forth. I kept coming up with is this rational and what plot holes are there. It took a long time to get it worked out. Good luck.

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