For those of you that are following along – however difficult, you will know that I have finished my first draft and am starting to read through it. Not in an official editing process, but just to check it all makes sense. It doesn’t!
I have found so many gaping holes in the plot, character and setting that I don’t know where to begin. Day turns to night, boys turn into girls and summer is suddenly winter in a heart beat. How did that house burn burn down and why is it rebuilt in the next scene?
If this is what Anne LaMott meant when she said write a really shitty first draft – then I have nailed it. Not only is this a shitty first draft – it is actually nonsense, I seem to have composed the sequel to James Joyce’s Ulysses – the one where Buck Mulligan calls Stephen Dealus ‘Ishmael’.
How Can I Keep Track of my Plot?
Plotting and consistency seem to be a weakness of mine.
It has always been something I have struggled with. To the point where I have not finished a few novels because I have not been able to trawl through the mess I made with their lives.
Perhaps I need to pay someone to design a plot tracking Iphone App! I need to invent my own system to solve this little problem. Make something I can put all my character research and plotting into – easy to read. Portable. On my computer – easy to change, and study. I have tried all sorts of ways, and still don’t have a really solid solution.
Keeping it in my head – Has it worked for anyone?
I have tried to keep it all in my head – What a mess. Just remembering does not work.
It was so difficult to hold the novel in my head that I was weighted down by the details. This was my first method. I just kept going forward with the writing every night with about any real regard for where I had been. It was terrible and I was only 17/18 years old. Rightly so I never was able to finish that book. But there is an image of caged butterflies and a memory of a naked girl falling through a church roof that has stayed with me forever.
Writing everything in a note book – I mean five note books.
This was a better approach than the old noggin storage system, but the problem with having it all written down in a note book is that you still have to read the whole darn thing to remember it all. There was no method or order to easily retrieve the information that I needed. A quick little note to check up with what season it was so I knew what the tides where doing. How warm the water would be if it was say… Spring.
A Time Line Program – Ok so this one was not all bad.
I just forgot my password to log on and find all my work – Fuck!!
There is a feeling I have that it is not cool in the writing world to be organised – or to plan, of anything.
Are Chapters the key? – Is that why chapters exist?
I wrote a short story in a few weeks and it was such a breeze because I could hold it all in my head at once. It was such a relief to start and finish something in the same house, with the same mindset and have it done… I don’t know how good it is, but the feeling I have now is worth it.
Now I use Microsoft Excel – It has a promising title.
How do you keep Track of your plot?