Backstory & Plotting Chapters | #AmWriting (07.29.2016)

writinghead710Today has been really productive and as it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this good about where I’m at writing-wise, I’ve decided to do a cheeky little writing post here on the blog. I’ve not properly worked on my story since before my vacation last week, and I was lucky that I didn’t lose the excitement I had then. My biggest motivation behind this great day was my writing pal Sara with whom I Skyped twice today actually!

Sara is visiting her sister in California, which means we now have a two-hour time difference between us and surprisingly it’s worked out in our favor today. We Skyped early enough (her time) that we decided it would not be unreasonable to try and Skype again in four hours time, giving us both some time and a deadline with which to try and be more productive than we had been the last time we spoke.

With my time, I ended up doing a lot of brainstorming of the backstory that would set the events of my novel into action in the form of a lot of summarization. Here are some of the major things I changed and established in the world of my story (please, excuse the vagueness!):

  • I changed my main villain into a woman. This character had been based a little on the Rasputin of Anastasia (1997) and I decided that it would work better for my story’s conflict for her to be female instead. It’s also forced me to reshape the origins of the conflict and think about how to categorize people like her in this world.
  • I developed a compelling backstory between the villain and two mysterious characters who will become significant characters in the future books of this prospective series.
  • I decided to set my novel a year after a thing that happens. So the world of my story in the midst of turmoil now, instead of coming to turmoil as result of my protagonist’s actions in this book. It’s a small change that has given my world a more ominous tone which is quickly established in the first chapter!
  • I’ve reintegrated a favorite character from past drafts of this story. I’ve always loved this character, he might even be my most favorite creation ever, but I’ve worried in the past that he overshadows my protagonist. I’m determined to fit him into this story, however, and I think I’ve found a way that makes him important but still sidelined, at least for this first book.
  • I’ve committed to three secondary characters! A struggle I’ve realized I had this year was that I had trouble envisioning companions for my protagonist, which is necessary for this story to work. Now my protagonist is starting the story with two friends and there’s a new older character who’s an ally that my protagonist will not immediately realize.

After I talked with Sara for the second time, I managed to do a bit more story work before dinner. This time, I prioritized scene development for the first three chapters I’d outlined two weeks ago. I’ve realized that I’ve been intimidated to write with such a loose outline, so it was really helpful to make a bullet-point list of the things I know I need to write in each chapter before moving on. I’m really liking being able to see what each chapter will look like, the types of settings I need to describe and characters to introduce.

I’m not entirely finished developing all the scenes I will need in each chapter. There are still some lingering questions I have about how I want certain key scenes to unfold. I do hope to get close to finished tomorrow so that I can maybe start writing, because there are some things I’m hoping I’ll learn as I write and then I can just adjust my course from there if I need to.

Homework

I won’t be able to Skype with Sara until next Wednesday at the earliest, so I’ve given myself some homework to do each night so I don’t loose interest or motivation in my story. I get so much excitement out of talking about my developments that I’m going to be emailing Sara every night with a progress report. That way she can also hold me accountable and make sure I’m working on this story, even if it’s just a little each day.

If I’m doing really good on time and progress, I might also try and do an #amwriting blog post everyday while I do this. It takes a little while to concisely summarize what my big bullet-point story developments are, but I do find it valuable personally to be able to see at a glance what I’ve accomplished in my writing each day, beyond word or page count.

End Note

Hopefully you’ll see another writing post from me very soon. That’s the plan at least. And with the end of July just around the corner, you should be seeing my July Notes this weekend at the very least because I’ve read so much this month! I think I’ll end with nine books read this month, which is remarkable for me! And since I’ve not reviewed most of these books I’m really excited to reflect on them there.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post and are enjoying your writing as much as I am mine (finally)! See you soon. ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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