Changes, changes, changes…
I’m starting to notice a curious pattern with my novel: every time I’m just about to finally settle on all the plot and worldbuilding details, yet another bunch of changes worm their way into my head…and slow my writing pace to an utter crawl.
This time, the changes began several weeks back. I’d been trying to tighten the structure of my book’s plot (again), only to realise that the first ten chapters followed a perfectly good plot structure all by themselves. This, I should point out, was never my intention; rather, it simply just happened.
What do I mean, you might be asking? Well, among other things, the first ten chapters include:
- An introduction, along with a “hook”
- An inciting incident
- A period of rising action/tension, complete with a “rock bottom” moment mid-way through
- A climax
- A resolution (…or so it seems, anyway)
Having realised the above, I asked myself the following: why not structure the entire novel this way, with a set of shorter “parts” or “episodes” combining to form an overall plot-line. Initial attempts to outline the idea proved fruitful, which in turn led to a ground-up re-write of the novel’s remaining two thirds….along with a few bits of the first third, too.
And as if that wasn’t enough, I also decided to review the worldbuilding behind the book. Because, well, why not? There were a still a few details about the main alien species in the book which were overly vague and/or simply didn’t feel right, and I thought it high time to do something about it.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, numerous changes resulted:
- Three new characters were introduced. One of them originated in the 1st draft but was scrapped when redrafting started; the other two are completely new.
- Some slight re-writes were made to my protagonist’s backstory, prompted at least in part by the questions in this post
- Huge expansions were made to the biology and social structure of the aforementioned (parasitic) aliens, with a few minor alterations made in other areas.
- One particular character was promoted from being an important side character to the role of Major Antagonist, having made the exact opposite transition between first and second drafts.
Honestly, I consider the third point to be the most important of the four. It got me thinking about a huge variety of things, not the least being potential plotlines for future books…not that I’m getting ahead of myself, or anything. In understanding my world more, events and characters should come just that much more naturally, significantly improving the pace of later work.
More important, though, is that these world alterations got me thinking hard about worldbuilding in general. When we make fictional worlds, it’s our task to make them real enough to truly suck readers in. Before, the world of my novel didn’t achieve this; now, it…probably still doesn’t, admittedly, but is at least a little closer to doing so. And that’s all that matters, right?
At this point, the outlining seems to have come to an end, and I’m thinking it high time I actually got back to writing things. Of course, I’ll probably be slow for the next little while, simply due the gap that’s developed. However, if I just write a little each day, then I ought to be back up to speed in no time at all.
So how has everyone else been doing with their writing, lately? Got anything you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below!