Just write: Self-shaming Sunday update


This week it’s all about the map.

My first attempt to write Anna’s story of retribution was a dismal failure.  I allowed myself to get caught up in the complexity of individual scenes and forgot a vital rule in novel-writing:  Every character action/reaction must benefit the progression of the story as a whole.   As a result, I lost sight of my final destination.  To rectify this problem, I’ve gone where I’ve never gone before.

To the fiery depths of Hell.

Well, not really.  Just into the depths of the dreaded outline.

I’ve been working on a vague sketch of Retribution using my favorite prompt game, “What if.”  This week the story is beginning to take form.  Through this process, it has become obvious that this will be a very different tale from the one I initially envisioned.  But it has to be, right?  Of course, it does.  The last one was complete shit.

So what’s the nitty-gritty on the my weekly progress?

I have a good overview of Retribution down on paper.  Of course, there are a few gaps, a few unconnected dots,  but I think they will work themselves out during the hardcore outlining phase.   Which is where I find myself now – the hardcore outline.  Up first, the set up.  I’m pleased with the sequence of events in this phase.  However, there is one hiccup.  Anna’s father.  In my last attempt, he was dead.  His in-depth characterization was largely inconsequential.  He had a peripheral presence that did not require any real exploration.  In this version, I have brought him back from the dead – at least for the interim – and his real-time relationship with his daughter is an essential element in the progression of Anna’s story and her quest for revenge.  Therefore, he must be fully examined and profiled.

This week’s goal = finish a solid first draft of the setup outline.

Goal = Sort of met, but need to find out what makes Anna’s father tick before I can really set this outline portion in stone.

Next week’s goal = Finish up character profile for Ivan and continue working on setup outline.

Author: Peggy Isaacs

This is me. Is that you?

8 thoughts on “Just write: Self-shaming Sunday update”

  1. I would have killed off Bill, but he doesn’t irritate me. Now that I have found him to be a 13 year-old boy like myself, I enjoy his company even more.

  2. I thought of your story this weekend as I watched some news program talking heads yapping about the Israeli use of Azerbaijan airstrips to attack Iran and the possible American leaks of information. There was a huge map in the background with a big arrow pointing to Baku.

    They should have had a label saying, “A big event in Peggy’s story happens here.” But they don’t talk about what’s really interesting.

  3. It’s funny that you brought the dead father back. I went the opposite way when I rewrote my project that ended up in a similarly not-working state the first time around. I had the father alive, showed the relationship. I actually left him alive, too, with the unspoken understanding that he’d drink himself to death in short order once his son was no longer there to take care of things. In the rewrite, I realized how much I hated that character. I killed him 🙂 No, not for that reason. I needed him dead to set the son in motion in the story, but still, it was funny to me. 🙂

    Sounds like you’re making good progress though, and you might be surprised to find you like outlining. I went into trying that method out cringing and came out loving it (and finishing good drafts too).

    1. I love killing off characters that irritate me. It makes me smile.

      I am making good progress and I do feel much better. I’m just itching to write but I know I need to be patient and not rush it.

      1. I always love finding a fellow evil writer 🙂

        And if you figure out how to be patient with writing, please tell me. I seem to have trouble with that. Every day.

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