You cannot imagine how much I love my Kindle! I’ve downloaded so many wonderful books on writing that I hardly know where to begin.
First, I read Kristen Lamb‘s two wonderful books: We Are Not Alone – The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. I love Kristen’s upbeat and humorous writing style which is very easy to read. She goes out of her way to hold your hand as she shows you how to set up a WordPress blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook and a MySpace page. I did much of that last Monday, and just about a week later I’m following a double handful of blogs, three times that in twitter feeds, and am writing my fourth blog post. Highly recommended!
The book that has sent me back to the drawing board is David Baboulene‘s The Story Book – a writers’ guide to story development, principles, problem resolution and marketing, which is an unbelievable bargain in Kindle format ($2.99! Less than my usual Starbucks double/tall/half-caf latte!) and is chock full of hints, tips, dos and don’ts for writing both screenplays and novels. He uses “Back To The Future” in example after example, which renders his points extremely clear.
So… last night I was reading about the Story Development Process, feeling more and more dismayed. I’ve written over 90,000 words in my novel since I first started writing in February 2011, and my heart sank as I read Baboulene’s comments on structuring a story. I’ve done none of that in planning my story. It has been very stream-of-consciousness… well, not exactly. I’ve been bouncing back and forth in the chronology of my protagonist’s life, skipping here and there as my whim lead me.
In fact, for some time I have been wondering about exactly how I should structure this tome (feeling that I’m not halfway through with it as it is), and wondering if I was doomed to toss a good percentage of what I’ve already written. I don’t even know the story’s ending at this point! Then today I spent more time with Baboulene’s book, and I realized that I needed to just STOP. Stop writing, and start planning. Now. Before I write another word.
I have a very good idea as to the story, as well as the key question. And when I look at many of the scenes that I’ve written, I can tell that they are quite good, from a structure and character development perspective (though the definitely can use some good editing and proofing!) I’m happy with much of my work thus far, and I think that I’m going to be able to use at least half of what I’ve written already. I’ve known that it needs direction, and I feel that if I follow his suggestions (using index cards with each scene aim on the front, the sequence objective in a sentence or two on the back, etc) I will be able to deliver a much tighter, focused, and interesting story in the end.
But… I can’t find my index cards tonight, and I feel like hell anyway. My weekend was fraught, and tomorrow is my day off. Between laundry and getting new tires for the car (yikes!) I hope that I can spend some quality time with some index cards, as well continuing to read my new friend Samantha Warren‘s Vampire Assassin (Jane Book 1) which I’m going to cue up in my Kindle right now. (Hi, Samantha!!)