‘TIS THE SEASON TO SET THE STEEL OUTRIGGER
Have you ever had the feeling, just as you’re finishing a novel, that the whole premise is collapsing? Be assured you are not the first writer to experience this, nor will you be the last. I firmly believe that this excruciating moment in every author’s life is quite simply just part of the process of creating an excellent novel. So, how can we avoid that moment? Here we are in the 2nd week of December and the holiday activities are increasing. However, I’ve set aside two days (well, a day and a half) prepare the foundation for my work in the coming year. I call it my scaffolding agenda.
I’ve been listening to so many ideas floating in my head that will eventually fit into my actual story. But it’s the premise—the very core concept (or “take-away”) that I hope my Readers will discover, that will be my basis and to secure that solid foundation I must ask myself two important questions.
- WHY do I want to write this story?
- Why will Readers buy this book?
My answers will lead to the Theme (premise) of the story which I’ve learned to write out in one sentence (even if it’s a paragraph long) and post it on the wall next to my desk. Then, later, I re-write that Theme Statement from the perspective of each of my characters and, again, tape those to the wall. These two steps keep me grounded throughout every stage of writing the novel.
Now, back to the scaffolding illustration. If you’ve ever noticed the scaffolding beside new buildings, or the steelwork of a bridge you’ve probably seen the individual triangle shapes utilized throughout. From the base of scaffolds (called steel outriggers), to the steel supports in raised bridges, these triangle shapes have been selected because of their extreme strength due to the rigidity of its sides which allows them to transfer force more evenly through their sides—or “balance” the pressure.
I don’t believe it is a coincidence that Plot Outlines are often illustrated as triangles because their foundation begins with a specific character or problem (with the world) that must be resolved. Upon the shoulders of this character and the challenge he/she faces rests every other element of the story.
Here are the quick and easy steps I’m taking to lay the foundation for the new novel I’ll start—and finish—in 2018.
- When I answered the “Why do I want to write this story?” question I discovered that one rather unusual character has been telling me his story—so he will be my main character and the basis for this story’s foundation. My goal during this week will be:
- Discover his name.
- Describe his general physical appearance/condition,
- Write one short paragraph about his back-story.
- Answering the question, “Why will Readers buy this book?” provided me with the problem this character faces—which will resonate with a large portion of the Reading world. My additional task for this week is to: r
- Do a quick Internet search to learn more about this challenge in people’s lives and…
- Start a list of the resources I’ve discovered.
Accomplishing these tasks will, I know, tweak my need to write until sunrise. However, I will remind myself that I have permission to rest—more than I work—and relax (and reconnect) with my family and friends. THIS is the Season to regenerate and let Love and Laughter Ring! ⚓︎