Well, here we are at the end of the first quarter. It’s only been 3 months but it feels like a lifetime.
This quarter was all the big picture.
- Hook versus climax
- Plot arc
- Character arcs
- Mapping tension
- Voice, tone and language
By now you should have completed the read-through of the revision project to develop and understanding of the weak and strong points of your story. You should have re-plotted where you need to, to bring the loose first draft into a coherent story. You should have scrutinized your characters’ journeys to make sure that they get where they are going, and that you only have as many characters as your need. You should have examined your plot for the up and down beats that develop tension, and made sure the tension rises from the beginning to the middle to the end. You should have firmed up the voice of your work so you can be consistent all the way through.
For your first draft project, you should have either a developed plot to write, or be well into the draft if you are a pantser.
My personal journey through this first quarter was full of ups and downs. After the initial read-through of the revision project, I scrapped the lot and started again. It took me another 40,000 words of writing the second draft before I realised this story was never going to be what I needed it to be. So I put it to bed.
In the meantime I started revising another project and plotting for 2 more. So while I am behind on the first draft project, I am up to speed on the second revision project.
April 1st brings us into quarter 2.
Second quarter is all about the chapters, zooming in to make sure that each section of your book develops the story, advances the plot and illustrates character development. You’ll be looking at flow and movement and making sure each chapter strengthens the work and moves the story forward. For each chapter you’ll be looking at:
- Hook to climax – chapter
- Rising tension
- Character development
Now that you have your big picture and your story and character arcs, you need to start looking at chapters (or scenes) and making sure that each one strengthens your story as a whole. You should have already discarded the weak scenes in quarter 1. Look at each chapter and the events, and how they contribute to the story as a whole. You will be writing a lot of new words in this quarter as you manipulate your scenes and chapters to bring them into line with your overall plan. But remember, don’t worry too much about the prose at this stage, because it can still change. We’re still looking at the big picture, we’ve just zoomed in a degree.
In the comments (or on your blog) let us know how you are going, and how you feel about tackling the next stage.