Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Updates: Launches and Retirements

Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook 

On Launches.....  

I have recently finished the first KPP1/beginning edits for all novels.  My goal is to get the KPP2s, the launch points, done this week.  What are launch points?  I read something in Donald Maass's (lit. agent) workbook about building interesting or tense content between opening pages and the main events of the novel.  He called it "bridging conflict."  When I started writing out of order, I felt that there had to be something to balance the climax section of the novel.  So, I started thinking about what the beginning meant.  It is a hook, an introduction to the important elements of the novel.  The climax is the key scene before the denouement, or end.  Now, I couldn't have an idea as important as the climax in the beginning, but I could have something that started the plot ball rolling. Something that moved the reader and characters to the main conflict.  What was that point?  I called it the launch point.

Not all novels have them, especially in shorter works where I have what I call a climatic ending.  Where the climax and ending are so close in timing and meaning to each other.  In that case, to provide balance, the beginning also launches.

The other thing about beginning and launch points is, like climaxes and endings, they generally abut.  That is, I do not have any content in between the beginning and launch, just like I don't with the climax and ending.  Walker Novel 2 differs from this setup.  I think one other novel might too--Harem?

Anyway, that is what I mean by launch points.

On Retirements.....

What is the saying?  Sometimes the best plans of mice and men go awry?  Well, I recently worked up a schedule for my Walker series, and I realized to get it up on January 1st, its going to take a lot of work.  Except for nano, I don't have the time for side stories right now.  More, I find it hard to shift between the series and an unrelated project.  Why?  I have an obsessive personality, one that makes it hard to get interested in other material when I am more interested in what I am already working on.  I realized I better not mess with that, since my obsessions, they never last long. Some of it has to do with my writing process (more on that in another post).  I tend to see the novel in my head, certain scenes, like a movie, and I will go back to those bits and keep replaying them.  But eventually, like a song I play too often, I tire of it.  I obsess, I get bored, I move on.  So while I am in the obsessed mode, I need to finish the Walker Series.

To that end, I decided to cut out some of the editings--the obsession killer--planned.  I still will write a certain key point or event, for example, the beginning scenes.  Then once all beginnings are done across the five novels, I will edit them to a polished state.  But in general, unless the scene is giving me problems, I won't squeeze another edit in between.  Also, I won't edit them again once I say write two parts, like an event and a key point that are near each other.  That was to be my "merge" edit.  I don't have the time or patience.  Rather, once I get to the point where I am writing the tertiary events (the third level of events, including key points), then I will start editing after write them for a section or a block.  Then I will start merging them together.

In this way, by retiring side stories and extra editing sessions, I hope to be done entirely with the series by November 1, giving me time to work on my nano and giving me time to work on formatting the series for publication.

We'll see how it goes.


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