This past week, I had to stop writing on my WIP and regroup. Though my roots are in total Seat-Of-The-Pants writing, I have changed over the past few years. I need a synopsis. I need more than that. I need a Chapter By Chapter synopsis. I need a GMC chart so I will know what my characters want, why they want it, and what is keeping them from attaining it. The photo above is of one of the white boards in my Sunday School class at church. Last Thursday, I took possession of the room for about five hours and wrestled with this storyline. I filled out Goal-Motivation-Conflict charts for each of the Point of View Characters. Both internal and external GMCs. I made a little time-line to show the three acts of the story and where the turning points are. I even sketched out how many words per chapter I could estimate, though that will vary greatly. Then I started listing (in no particular order) all the different things that had to happen in the book.
I took that list and began sketching out the chapters. What scenes would I need where in order for the story to make sense and get where I wanted it to go by the end of the book. Using the other white board in the room, I sketched out 20+ chapters, scene by scene. Then I started typing. I now have a 7 page chapter-by-chapter outline, more than 4500 words worth of story. I'll refer to this document constantly, along with the GMC spreadsheet I typed, while writing the book. I had thought that my original synopsis would be enough, that I'd be saving time if I just wrote from the synopsis I had. But I was floundering with the opening chapters because I only had a hazy idea of where I was going. I have to plot chapter-by-chapter if I want to be confident in the story. Lesson learned.
Also this week, since my daughter was home from college for a long weekend, we went shopping for some scrapbook stuff. For the past couple of years, I have kept and added to a scrapbook that chronicles my writing journey with pages for big events and a page each for my novels. You can view some of the pages by clicking on these links to previous posts.
The above picture celebrates my signing with Rachelle Gardner at WordServe Literary a year ago. The envelope holds a card from her to me on her personalized stationary, and I've included a picture of Rachelle, the WordServe logo, and the masthead picture of her blog. If you're an author and you haven't read her blog, do yourself a big favor and go read it! You can find it by clicking HERE. When I first decided to query Rachelle, I spent several days reading through her blog. I am amazed at her knowledge, her willingness to help authors, and how professional she is.
This page is to celebrate my novella in the upcoming September 2011 release of A Log Cabin Christmas.
Check out this line-up of authors and stories:
No Place for Angels by Margaret Brownley
The Christmas Secret by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Christmas Earthquake by Kelly Eileen Hake (tentative title)
A Star in the Night by Liz Johnson
The Courting Quilt by Jane Kirkpatrick
Under His Wings by Christine Cain (Liz Tolsma)
The Dogtrot Christmas by Michelle Ule
A Grand County Christmas by Debra Ullrick
Christmas Service by Erica Vetsch
Isn't that a terrific collection? I'm honored to be in such excellent company.
The scrapbook page is supposed to look like a Christmas present. I've included the title of the work, the title of my novella, and a photograph of a log cabin church such as is described in my story. The nativity scene, the wreaths, pine trees, and especially the sheep in the upper left corner all play a part in the story. I've left room for a picture of the cover of the book.
I'm not professional. I'm sure that dedicated scrapbook people could find lots of flaws in my pages, but I love my scrapbook. Each page is special to me.
I'll be working on a page for my current WIP as soon as I have more of it finished. Hopefully, before my writing career comes to an end, I'll be able to fill lots more pages.
Question for you...do you scrapbook?