Friday, February 7, 2014

It's all in the detail

Some of you will have read my posts from around the time of NaNoWriMo, a great motivational month for an indie writer.  I got off to a flying start, even though I began four days later than planned thanks to a nasty bug that wiped me out.  I wrote my little fingers ragged for the duration of the event, and when I wasn't writing I was thinking about writing so that when I actually came to do some writing I didn't do a lot of thinking.  And therein lies my little problem.

Yesterday I was reading an excellent article about keeping a timeline when plotting a new novel.  It focussed on how helpful it can be to stay on track with the changes in your plot, the progression of your character's lives, and so that you know that what is happening in each scene is happening at the right point in time.

It got me thinking that I would love to write a book that is constrained by the time in which it is set.  I think it would be a really fun challenge, and in the context of a thriller it could really help to focus the action.  A great modern day example of this would be the television series 24, or the movie Momento which I am ashamed to admit I still haven't seen and think that this weekend I will try to rectify that.

But what this emphasised to the unashamed pantser that I am, is that it is all in the detail.  This kind of book writing experience would force me to change my ways, to start making (good) notes, and to know my characters pretty well before we even take the first step into chapter one.

Looking back on my NaNoWriMo efforts with this thought in mind, I realise that the details themselves are what is important about this story, and some of them are, let's just say, not quite on the money.

Now whilst I did plan this book better than I did the others, the other books were written at my pace.  Write a bit, think a bit.  Scrap a bit, revise a bit.  This gives me a chance to check on the details as I write.  Instead, NaNoWriMo just became a race to the finish, and I wrote like a juggernaut without actually, at times at least, engaging the whole of my brain.

So here I am half way through a major edit, and I realise now that I have used a building in London, but I have gifted it an extra 50 stories!  The action is set on floor 90, but there are only fifty floors.  Doh! This is just plain stupid!  So before I get any closer to the end, I now have to go back and make the facts, well, ur, factual.

This is yet more damning evidence to add to the haul already stashed away in an unused compartment of my brain that my pantsing ways must come to an end.  I am considering writing the sequel to Identity X soon, and there is no way I can glide my way through that without some pretty hefty notes.  This weekend I think I need to go out an buy a nice big A3 note book and start doing it properly.

1 comment:

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