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Outlines, plot maps, and color coding

After writing a little more today, I realized that I was worried that the two parts of the story I was working on weren't going to fit together in the same story arc.


I have a lot of great ideas for scenes that are interesting to me, whether it's because it shows a relationship or highlights some of the quirks of the magic system, or gives me a space to pontificate about science. I write the parts that I like the best, usually dialogue, and then go back and fill in the rest. That leaves me, at these early stages, with a bunch of parts to a story, each happy-making in its own way.


But a bunch of delicious ingredients does not a recipe make. I listened to a delightful sermon back in college that was based around the idea that you shouldn't put tuna in a chocolate milkshake. Not all delicious things belong in the same place.


Since I don't work in a linear fashion when I'm writing, that can lead to sometimes having a pile of tuna and a bowl of chocolate ice cream.


That being said, when faced with a growing pile of scenes that I like, I thought maybe it was time to make sure I was still following the narrative thread that was supposed to tie them all together.


NaNoWriMo has a lot of really great tools for writers. From the "write by the seat of my pants" types to the "here's a spreadsheet of my ideas, color coded to show the scenes, acts, and narrative threads broken down by dramatic questions the reader might be asking" types.


I'm honestly a little bit of both. I start flying with my pants, but once I've got the beginning and the end figured out, I get slogged down by the middle. That's when I turn to the spreadsheets and index cards and color coding.



Diet soda and bowl of rocks optional.

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