Last week I wrote a blog post listing some of my fears for NaNoWriMo. Mainly the scope of my novel, the complexity of the story, the worlds where it all takes place, and the characters who would drive the story forward. If you read the post, you will know that I went back to mind-mapping in order to plan out my story. As I write this, I have seven pages of digital mind maps, and one drawn out mind-map detailing almost every aspect of the story. I would love to share images of them with you so you can see the interweaving lines and series of interconnected notes, but doing that would reveal my story; and I’m not one for spoilers.
So the story involves multiple characters. It involves various dynamics. It is a jumbled mess of genres and ideas piled together to create a story I hope will blow your mind. Figuratively of course. It has been an ongoing desire to write such a story since I read Th3e by Ted Dekker and I’m still reeling from it a month later.
The real problem with the idea in my head was the simple fact that nothing was aligning in a way that made sense. I had no idea who the characters (their persona, looks etc) were. I had no idea how the novel would start. What the middle would be or how it would end. My head was comprised of epic scenes, intense dialogue, and a floating concept. Yet at the end of it all, it had gaping plot holes.
Out of the characters who will run the story, I have two of them figured out. Something I’m glad I did now rather than during the story as one of these characters suddenly has a bigger role than I had originally planned. Which means restructuring a bit of the novel to accommodate this change; and it’s not a bad change either.
A friend of mine asked me what the story was about. I then proceeded to divulge a convoluted mess that confused me as well. Which means I don’t know enough about my novel yet- also his mind wasn’t blown and that’s a big no-no. The contributing factor to this confusion was not the characters or the story per se, but rather the big WHY in the sky. So your characters do this and that, and your story is about this and that but why. Why are your characters doing that? Why is your story moving towards that goal? I had no answer.
Where to from here?
It’s obvious isn’t it. I need to give some serious motivation to the whole story, get my characters re-aligned to this ultimate goal and guide the story accordingly. Guess it’s back to the drawing board and there’s only 11 days left…
Sounds like you’re getting somewhere.
Yes! You CAN do this! (Because I want to read the story!) 😀 😀
Have you tried K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel book? The exercises are awesome and may help to get structure into your notes 🙂
Also, do you use Scapple or another mindmapping software?
Lol that book has been sitting on my desk for months now and I keep saying, I’ll read it, and then I don’t. Ugh.
Thanks though Carin! I have XMind which helps with mind maps. So far so good though.