Monday, May 23, 2011

Pantser Plotting

Streamlining the second half of the Srese-Kerr-plot was a four-stage operation that began with my realisation that I was giving a secondary character, Youk, some of the most powerful scenes.

Mark that I didn’t want to kill him off altogether. I may want to retrieve him one day as he’s a strong enough character to carry a plot on his own.

The first stage was going through the second part of the work-in-progress and cutting his scenes, and being left with a morass of stuff, the only word for it, that didn’t hang together anywhere.

Yes, I’d let myself get seriously off track. But one good thing, I realised that I am after all a seat-of-my-pants plotter, or was when I wrote this the first time. Not that I didn’t edit it at the time. I just didn’t know enough to do a structural edit.

For stage two I wrote out a rough new chapter-and-scenes list with page numbers referring to whatever I had ever written about this section (including notes on serviettes and things), filing the pages in order of mention, and tossing the pages not required.

Tossing is a discipline in itself. Every project I work on has its own grocery box for tossing. Many are the times that I’ve sorted through the tossed box for something I decided to retrieve and couldn’t remember what file where on the computer. 

At stage three I attended to the threads connecting the Srese Kerr instalment to the third, which will probably be named Sard, Remaindered Avatar. At this point all instalment titles are still working titles.

So, I was attending to what happens after. Poor Ahni. I left her dangling again, in good hands in the short term, she is soon kidnapped by Sard. But don’t worry, Kes is riding to the rescue.

Originally, Ahni was rescued almost straightaway, but I realised the story needed an amount of time in which the implant-Gammy combo could work on the Life Suits. Both Sard and Kes are wearing them and it is through his that Kes is finally able to discover Ahni’s whereabouts and the danger she is in. He discovers this in the ring, during combat, on the other side of the country. He can’t be there instantly. It was one of my time-line deficiencies.

Finally, I listed Chapters 10 – 14 with new chapter names and a short description of their scenes. Lastly highlighting a couple of scenes between Greg and Srese. These two don’t get a resolution until much later in the series, but must get their courting done now.

However, in writing novels as I understand it, nothing is cast in concrete until a way into the publishing process. Already, writing in Chapter 10, I’m realising that I have too many disparate scenes for Chapter 11. Therefore I may put in a short chapter called The Side Plot, where Srese is being Ferd’s messenger because the Gammy computer isn’t operational.

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