The small issue of logic

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Hands up who else gets ‘synopsis dread’? Writing a pitch line is one thing. “It’s Vanity Fair meets Fight Club in East Grinstead.” I’ve tried so hard to be a plotter – and I believe it’s improved my writing and my process – but still I can’t help veering off on tangents. When you need to write a synopsis for something that still in draft, you start to realise what a big hoary mess it’s become and stripping it back for a coherent synopsis is a terrifying prospect.

In a recent #ukmgchat with Sarah Odedina from Hotkey books, she said the most important thing to remember in writing for a Middle Grade (MG) audience is LOGIC.

 

I have become reasonably obsessed with this, as I think it’s true. As converted pantser, no matter how hard I try to stick to an outline, it tends to veer off when OOH A PLOT BUNNY crosses my path and I just throw him into the mix regardless.

I’ve realised it’s important to make sure that each scene advances each participating character’s “wants” – that their actions propel them towards whatever it is that they want (to be left alone, to climb Everest, to rob the convenience store, to make the perfect cannoli) every time, regardless of plot bunnies. And I need to see that in front of me.

Scrivener is a great tool but I’d love if it had some sort of timeline (and also an iPad version) so I’m going analog. As suggested by some other SCWBI members, I’ve got a roll of wallpaper, and I’m adding some name labels. Going to make the mother of all timelines, check that the logic and ‘wants’ are king, work out what character ‘knows what when’, as Rachel Aaron suggests in 2k to 10k, and note the plot bunnies that need to be shot and boiled. 

I’ve got Sharpies and I’m not afraid to use them.

Chained to the desk

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Where else would I be today. 

I’m lucky enough to have a writing day so it doesn’t matter if it’s bloody tropical outside. Truth is, I burn quicker than plastic white bread anyway so I’d probably be in the shade or whining if I was outside.

Instead I am inside, and whining, because I’m stuck. I’m on a six-month (online) novel writing course and it’s kind of a crunch time – midway through the writing and I haven’t written enough; my outline is problematic and I don’t want to just feck time away writing towards no likely end point; and I guess I am just generally having a panic.

The current solution is that the sloping office ceiling above my head is getting covered in post-its and I’m trying to see past all the bits of ‘story’ I’ve written and make them into some sort of ‘plot’. 

There’s going to be a tree’s worth of post-its up there soon.