I have taken the plunge. Too soon? Undoubtedly, most assuredly, yes. Excuse me, please, while I dive in face first.
I have registered for the Philadelphia Writing Workshop on Saturday, April 9.
My manuscript is not yet complete (it was actually stalled for quite a while), but I’ve hit a major milestone. With the help of Scrivener as a tool, plot and character tips by K.M. Weiland, overall education from Writing Fiction for Dummies, and all of the amazing tips, advice, critiques, and blogs from Andi of AndiLit.com, Jane Friedman, and the amazing people at the Absolute Write Water Cooler forum, I have what I believe is a “complete” outline. I am not saying I’m almost done, but I’m saying I now have the tools to get there rapidly.
- A full three-act structure
- Inciting Event and Key Event
- First Plot Point
- Strong Reaction
- First Pinch Point
- Turning Point / Midpoint / Second Plot Point
- Strong Action
- Second Pinch Point
- Third Plot Point
- Climactic Moment
- A very rich outline, chapter-by-chapter, highlighting where each of these Plot elements take place
- A smaller set of outlines for the remaining books in the series, “just in case”
- I’m not trying to get ahead of myself; rather I am trying not to present anything in book one that is flat out contradictory to future plans (when an editor gets hold of book one, all bets may be off, and I’m okay with that).
- I understand book one has to be able to stand completely on its own merits and not “need” sequels.
- A Moral / Theme for this book, as well as a Moral / Theme for the entire series
- Clear sketches (in my head right now, writing them down today and tomorrow) of:
- The main characters – their passions, their conflicts, their way of thinking (important), what matters to them / what motivates them, what aggravates them
- The magic system (important – this is “Hard Fiction” – I even had to change my logo, I had gotten the sub-genre wrong)
- The universe, its beings, and the planets (we will visit other planets in later books), and how they all work together
- A relatively strong attempt at a Query Letter for a Literary Agent (which I will have critiqued for educational purposes at this conference)
What I will complete this weekend:
- Getting the sketches out of my head and on paper
- A two-page synopsis
- Possibly the start of a large “Proposal” package
- Again, here, I’m not trying to put the cart before the horse; I’m not ready for an agent. Sure, I do tend to do that – but guess what? I learned over these past two weeks that by systematically summarizing and explaining important parts of my story I clearly reveal my weak spots. I also come up with great ideas how to solve them. That’s why that song popped into my head (“There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza” … see my parody…).
- If I’m not ready for an agent, why am I going to this conference? Practice! Same reason trying to summarize pointed out where I need to focus…
What I will be feverishly working on over the next 2 weeks, as I finish the first draft of my novel:
- Getting a better handle on when to “Show” – I currently “Tell” too much.
- Figuring out if it’s safe to have several points of view (5 planned, spaced out at the ‘right moments’, never more than one per scene).
- WORLD BUILDING – I have a cool universe and planet in mind – two “Suns” and two “Moons” – and this being “Hard” Fantasy, there’s a reason for that. Unfortunately, so far I show none of that!
- Working out where I’m being confusing (because, after all, I always know what I mean).
- I’m worried about over-using flashbacks, too, or not using them in the right way.
Let me copy from above…
If I’m not ready for an agent, why am I going to this conference? Practice!
This will help show where I need to focus my next efforts …
Please cheer me on for tons of fun and education. While I am participating in the Agent Pitch, I will likely not actually be “fully ready” with a highly polished manuscript by then, so – again – it is for education-learning-PRACTICE!
Oh, and for the record – I am SO, IMMENSELY, FULLY COMMITTED to this now. I am totally stoked to see this story really start to buckle down and take solid form, even if it’s not all fully laid out on paper yet.
Copyright: kostiuchenko / 123RF Stock Photo