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Worksheets, Index Cards, and Timelines…oh my!

I’ve been busy, as little man has napped really well lately, and I’m nearing the end of filling out worksheets and playing around with my outline cards. I’m getting ready to actually start cutting, rewriting, revising, and reworking my manuscript. I’ll be using those worksheets I spent weeks painstakingly filling out, I’ll be using the outline cards (a lot actually), and I’ll be grateful that I did all that work ahead of time – but part of me is nervous. Very nervous.

So, last time I wrote I was working on characters and I only cut two minor characters. I’m going to bump up one minor character to a slightly bigger part, and all others are just getting some juice added to them – that sounds weird – but I mean, they’re getting some work done, but nothing too major. I just want to get them back to where I had originally (in my plans before I wrote the first draft) thought of them. My main character especially. I had envisioned her being a bit more of a firecracker than she turned out to be. I think my first idea wasn’t quite right either, but I need more spunk and less frightened five-year-old.

Once I had that worked out, I moved on to working through my conflicts. I have one main plot and two subplots so I went through and figured out if the conflict was strong enough to withstand an entire book. Luckily, it did with minimal tweaking and a few additions. After conflict came time. This was actually harder than I thought it would be.

On my outline cards I had to write down the day, time, season, etc for each scene. I had to map out (for myself) on a piece of scrap paper a month and write down times, day of week, and season details so I wouldn’t get confused and then used that to fill out my cards. Once that was narrowed down and the cards were in the right order, then we had to fill in how time played out within the scene. This was the hard part. Trying to figure out how long the action would take versus what was happening in the background. I thought it would take about 30 minutes to fill out my 40 scene cards, but it took closer to 2 hours. Again, I’m very grateful that my son is taking healthy naps lately.

Now…the only two things standing between me and cutting/rewriting/revising are playing around with time within the book (linear timeline, backwards timeline, jumping around from head to head) and figuring out my Hit List – the things I need to think about as I’m working through and changing things. I’m not there yet, but right off the top of my head I’ll add some thoughts about my Main Character, adding some more details to her art studio (I was insanely vague with details my first draft, but boy is my dialogue good), and making her romantic lead a bit more smarmy at the beginning. I’m sure I’ll have more as I read the lesson more carefully – I’ll admit, I skimmed just to see what was coming up.

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