Thursday, December 13, 2007
Refining the Big Picture
Writerly Wednesday

So - my apologies - I can't find the bleeping charger for the camera's special batteries so today will have to be sans photos. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.


Last week I showed everyone the POV Summary post-its up to chapter three and how I got into a situation where the POV Summary didn't match the Plot Details. Then I rewrote the POV Summaries to better match the Plot Details.

Finish the POV Summary Post-Its
The next step is to continue through the rest of the chapter boxes and write the POV Summary post-its for each scene. I double-check each one to makes sure it agrees with the Plot Details.

I don't necessarily do this in order. Often I know the scene where a major revelation takes place so I'll put up the POV Summary for that scene, then I'll go back and decide what scenes need to take place to carry my story from the prior major plot point.

Evaluate the POV balance
The next thing I do is stand back from the storyboard and unfocus my eyes a little so I don't get caught up reading the words. I look at the entire storyboard to try to get a basic feel for the balance of different POV's in the story.

My stories are often a bit weighted toward the heroinne but I try to keep it pretty even. I've had a few times where the POV was heavily weighted toward one character or another and that often leads to readers feeling as if they are distanced from the character they don't hear as much from. They don't get as much of a chance to know that character from the inside out.

In those cases, I go back through the scenes and look for opportunities to change the POV of a scene.

I mostly write third person, so the rules for first person wouldn't really apply here, your POV is always one character. In the case of the first person story I plotted out, I instead used two shades of pink and one was external focus, one was internal focus.

Add Reference Notes
I'm very prone to forgetting things like eye color, etc. and because I don't want to page back through the document to look for the details, I create some Reference post-it notes. I use the lined 4x4 post-its and put these on the storyboard far enough below the last row of the chapters so that they don't visually interfere but where I can easily see them.

Start Writing
By now I'm ready to start writing this story. The plot is a lot clearer to me and I have a good idea where I'm going. Some people take the post-it notes for the scene they are working on to their computer but I take the whole board and prop it up near the desk.

Modify as You Go
Things still change during the actual writing of the story. At least every two chapters, I sit down and look again at where the story is going and whether I need to make changes to the storyboard. Sometimes I have items appear that are important to the story and I need to show them to the reader at least three times to make them memorable. I typically add little post-it notes for these to places they should appear.

I am careful, however, to not just let myself ditch the storyboard and go off on some tangent on the spur of the moment. If I start to think the storyboard won't work, I STOP writing and redo the storyboard in whatever new vein is important.

If I make decisions on things that I need to use later (appearance, family relationships,etc), I add those to the Reference notes.

Next week I'll talk about pitfalls I've found and things I've tried but this is the meat of the information. It's really not that complicated and there is no magic formula that works for everyone.

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