January 18, 2018

how i'm writing this book

Since starting my first novel in November 2010, I've taken several approaches to writing each of my novels after. They always involve some research, character development, and outlining, but how those come about vary each time. I've learned some short cuts. I've learned more about craft. Like my stories, my process is a work in progress.

With the evolution of my writing in mind (and because I needed to keep my focus on the current project giving me fits) today I wanted to share what guides, techniques, and so on I'm using to craft Book 8.

Series Bible

I've written about this a bit before, but basically (thanks to my friends in Romance Authors of the Heartland) I created a series bible to help me keep track of the persons, places, and things that will carry through my series for continuity purposes. This includes digital and physical components, such as maps, descriptions, and so on. And it's something I really need to review when I go back and edit these stories to ensure I'm being consistent.

GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon

When writing, I never seem to have a problem figuring out who my characters are and what they like. On a basic level. But so often I struggle with working out how to make their story sing, particularly with conflict. Enter the Bible on developing character struggles: Debra Dixon's GMC.  Not only does this book break down and help us understand what GMC are, but she illustrates why it's so important.

I've created GMC charts for my main and supporting characters, and wow, they have really helped. Whenever I'm imagining a scene, I pause to consider how that plays into my characters' GMCs and whether or not it fits.

Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

After taking an online class from Gwen Hayes via Romance Authors of the Heartland, I learned more about story beats in romances and how I could apply that to my own works. While I (like I imagine plenty of other writers) had followed some of them instinctively (and by learning from how plot moves in our favorite books), it was nice to finally have a name for them. As a bonus, she also provided worksheets (which you can also find by ordering her book, which I highly recommend) that you can use (and I have) to outline your story.

I used it for plotting my last book (the first in a new series, I'm now writing the second book), and it has really helped me with pacing my stories. Of course, it also has me overthinking the pacing, but it's better to do it now, before I screw everything up and have to delete massive amounts of pages. Again. (Sigh)

Plotting Board

Fellow RAH member Sherri Shackelford shared this with our group last November. She learned about it from Erica Vetsch who, I'm told, found it from another author. So it's very sisterhood of the traveling plotting board, which I love. Now I'm hooked. Basically, it's a tri-fold board where you can track your plot's progress (using Post-It notes) as a visual for yourself as you go. I use different colors for each character and notes for major plot points. And look, there's even a place for me to track my GMC.

What sorts of tools/resources/techniques do you use to write your books?

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1 comment:

  1. The only actual tool I use is Scrivener, but within that I do outline. The rest of the planning (character dev, setting, etc.) is all in my head. Your way is probably better. :-)