I have put in many hours this week on the novel. I am not done yet. Each step I make gets me closer to completion and yet, sometimes, farther away.
I was going to type, "farther away, it seems." But that has been one of my own discoveries this week is how much I qualify and discount in my story. Especially this story which was first written six years ago. I believe that my writing has improved in many ways since that time, but there is still room for improvement, need for feedback from outside eyes and brains.
This morning I started working on the timeline and plot map, which includes physical location of characters and movement in the story, where important events take place. I have made note of needing to that for at least a couple of weeks. This week, here, I have noted it and it was a major thing I needed to do which I put in my notes. I was going to start it last night, but it was late, I was getting tired, and I knew I wanted to start on it while I was fresh.
Which I did this morning.
I had to stop for lunch. I tend to overtake one end of the main table when I'm writing here. At least I have up until now because I am taking notes on one set of paper and making revisions and have my laptop. I take up space. So I paused for lunch. No problem.
After we were done eating and the table again cleared, I got back to it.
And I DID it! Making the map was slow at times. Some incidents and connections were not as clear as they seemed on the page or in my head. Who went where. What happened before or after what, was complicated.
I was happy it was complicated because I don't want my novel to be boring. But it wasn't as easy to plot it out as I thought it would be. Silly me.
Amazing things happened as I plotted and circled. Drew solid lines and dotted lines.
I realized that the section I moved to the front of the book was not an attention grabber, a hook. No. It really did have to be the first thing that happened. That is the inciting incident. It has to happen first or nothing else makes sense. (Or perhaps it's too twisting and manipulative to make it not be the first important thing.)
I also realized that the reason I moved it to the front originally, the thing I thought had to happen? It couldn't happen there. No way. It had to happen in a different time and place.
That was the big breakthrough. Once I realized that, things really fell into place. Not all of it easily; some events still had to be figured out, counted and timed in a way, noted and considered.
Which I did. I had the visual map. Then it got to a point where I had to write it out in a first, second, third, etc way. In that process I discovered that there were two incidents at one point - they needed to occur somewhat concurrently, so I had to do some thinking about how I wanted to place them in terms of story interest and timing. And I did that, too.
So, now. What's next? I believe I can move forward with rewrites now. Actually with some re-vision. There are no major changes in characters or the significant events. But there are some other changes related to the story and I think I understand now and it will move forward.
This will not be a fast process. But I have a map now. I know where the characters came from and where they're going.
Now it's time to get back to it. I was so excited that I wanted to take a writing break to write this update from the fogged in Rockaway Beach.