That went okay. Rebuilding the plot with… well, plotting

I went ahead and mixed the Larry Brooks story points spreadsheet with my scene list. Now, I went through the 32 k words and did a brief description of each scene, the exact word count, the cumulative word count, and percentage of the book location. Then, I put the ideal word count (number of scenes/total word count) for each scene. 60 scenes for 80,000 words = 1333 words per scene.

I then placed the Larry Brooks 6 important tent poles in the location where they should go, whether the corresponding scene was correct or not (usually not).

Then I took a look at what the scenes that are already written are doing, and where they are located.  For instance, my initial scene sets up something that will happen at the midpoint.  It was 800 words, but it lacked conflict. I wrote 400 additional words to bulk up the conflict in the scene. I also added more description. After listening to some major best seller books (CDs… we drove to Tahoe and back this weekend for a snow day with the kids), I concluded my writing is parsimonious and miserly. Go ahead and put that lush description in. Why not? Since each scene now has a job to do, and can be put in the right location, it shouldn’t be a problem filling out the scenery a bit more than I did.

With a bit of tweaking and moving about, I ought to be able to slot the important scenes into their logical locations, and map out the plot twists to the end to increase the pace of work and complete this thing within a month or two.

Been working on the novel. Resetting to match Larry Brook’s outlining

I’m at 33 k, and I went back and fixed it to remove 5 additional characters who were clogging up the works. That took some time, but there was no reason to haul around two entire fireteams of marines, so I killed off a fireteam and offed two of the shuttle crew while I was doing that. Overall, I changed a few hundred words.

I also wrote 1500 words yesterday. I will need to rewrite the scene for conflict.

Today I’ve broken down all the scenes I have so far. I have 32 scenes (so far). They average 1047 words each. In an 80,000 word novel, I’m 40% of the way through. A review of the scenes shows that some are information only, no conflict, and will need a rewrite to introduce goal/conflict in each scene.

So I’ll take what exists and rewrite the scenes for conflict. Extend them to create more uniform length. Shortest scene: 47 words. Longest scene: 3800 words. The rewrites will fix the pacing and structure. I can see that my structure, in order to sit correctly in the Larry Brooks sense of things, needs to have that first plot point somewhere between words 16000-20000.  That is not correctly set right now, which will be fixed by controlling the scenes and length.

I’ll also plot out the rest of the scenes, so that each scene has conflict/goal, each scene accomplishes what it’s supposed to accomplish for that part of the book, and it all comes together with precision.

I see the only problem with having the structure be so defined is that someone who knows structure will be noting the important points while reading their kindle, since it tells you percentage-wise where you are in the book if you choose that information (or tells you location, or how many minutes are left in the book).  That’s thrown off if there’s a hook chapter at the end of the book so you get sucked in to the sequel – your 25% plot point might be more at 23%, so it looks like it’s early when it’s not. But… if people want to see the underlying structure, fine, so be it. I want it to be obvious that we’re hitting the plot points when we should and that all is right in the universe, writing-wise.  Those who hate structure and don’t care, that’s fine, they can ignore it and just enjoy the book, which will seem awesome for some strange reason they don’t understand, like the fact the plot is structured perfectly. 😀