Wednesday Check-in · Writers Write

Wednesday Check-in

Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: 53 tasks completed out of 591 possible,  1 since 4/28

Miles walked: 5.25 since 4/28.

I’m having a confidence problem. I worked through the exercises on Chapter 7: Defining Personal Stakes, and I came up with six very good plot alterations. All of them put the protagonist more at risk than the current version. It’s going to be a huge revision–tedious and difficult . . . and rewarding. I’m up for it, but diving in is hard. Remember the eating-the-live-frog analogy? This is like swallowing a serpent.

Also, there’s this: I started a new book by a favorite author, and I had to put it down after twenty pages. I’ve always read genre fiction like an instruction manual–read this to see how it works. This one disturbed my writing process. I read a different book, cover-to-cover. The writer is a master of what Donald Maass calls, microtension. (Where you absolutely have to read each line to find out what happens next.) Again, at twenty pages I felt a shift. I’m no longer a romance writer. I’m a satirist. I still love, love stories. Mine has one, but my work is issue oriented. The way I put words on a page has changed. I sense it when I’m writing, but reading really drove it home.

So, I needed a new plan. This week, I jumped ahead to Chapter 34: Constructing the Pitch, finishing the exercises and follow-up on pages 223 and 224. I constructed a query of ninety-four words. Short. Simple. Direct.

Today, I’m moving on to Appendix A: Outlining Your Novel on pages 225-227. Maybe the story outline will alter things again, and I’ll have more discoveries to take back to Chapter 7. Despite the low number above, I’ve finished a ton of work.

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