Frantic: Day 97

I’ve been lagging on the blog updates because of a cold this last week, but I’ve been keeping up with the writing, so that’s a good thing.  Actually, between writing, tutoring, and starting a story analysis course at UCLA, I’ve been busier than usual.

I’m getting close to the end of the easy streak of Frantic‘s second draft, the easy part being that most of the writing until now has been me going through stuff already written and salvaged from the first draft.  Maybe that’s why I started getting cold feet last night about the story.

After a somewhat nervous evening, I’m still forging ahead.  There are a few things that have made moving forward easier.

First, I’m way ahead of myself in the second draft than I was in the first simply because I’ve got a beginning-to-end outline.  Granted, a lot of Draft 2 is new material, but it’s easier coming up with that material when you know roughly what you’ve got to get across.

Second, I emailed a copy of the Draft 2 outline to my friend Ashley just to get a little feedback.  I’m pretty sure the plot is decent enough right now, but it always makes me feel better to get an outside opinion.  As a writer, my bias is kind of unreliable.  I either want to protect something bad from change, or have a lack of confidence in something good.  Either way, a second set of eyes is a good thing.

People will probably read this thinking, No!  You can’t show the plot before you’re done with a full draft!  Let me stress something: I’m showing the PLOT, not the STORY.  Story is when you combine a bunch of elements – dialog, characterization, sequences of events, etc. – into a whole thing.  When you pick up a draft of any book, that’s the story at a particular point in time.  Plot is the sequence of events.

When you show your plot outline to someone, what you’re really asking is whether or not that progression makes sense.  Does a fight between two characters in the third act sound logical given what’s happened between them earlier in the outline.  Don’t worry about it being the best plot.  Don’t worry about it being Nobel Prize-winning stuff.  Just worry about whether or not it makes sense.

If that spine of a plot is solid, then the only thing to worry about is the execution in the writing.  You worry about that in revisions.  And if it still feels tough, just remember that Tony Stark could build this in a cave.  With a box of scraps.

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