I may have mentioned before that my transitioning skills aren’t great. You know, when you finish a major scene and you need to transition from there to the next piece of important information. Writing a novel is not like writing a grocery list.
Recently, I’ve discovered a way to help me with this dilemma. I have a bare bones outline of my novel that includes the pivotal moments or complications. But, getting from one moment to the next has been somewhat of a challenge for me. Let me back up a bit.
When I first started planning this novel, I bought a simple notebook like you would buy for your kids at the beginning of the school year. In it, I wrote the names of my characters and their motivations. I wrote down the beginning, all the pivotal complications, and the climax. It also includes handwritten scenes, notes, research and it serves as a central location for things that come to my mind as I’m writing. It sits on my desk, front and center as I write. It also serves as a makeshift folder for notes from my CP and catalogs that are part of my research; I have a fantastic catalog from Amish Country Gazebos.
Now, back to my discovery. When I finish a scene and/or chapter and find myself grappling with a way to move the story forward, I open my notebook to a new page and make a mini-outline of what I want to happen to get me to the next pivotal moment. Once I start, it all starts falling into place and the writing becomes easier.
It isn’t always a sure thing. Sometimes I have to wait a day or two for the juices to start flowing. For instance, after finishing chapter five and six and getting feedback from my CP, I immediately started writing chapter seven. Before I had even one page finished I knew it wasn’t right. The idea in my head was just an information dump and not a very good one. So, I walked away; I needed to think of a better way to convey the information while at the same time moving the story forward.
Saturday night, after recovering from a migraine, I pulled out my notebook and started a mini-outline. Somewhere between walking away and that point an idea popped into my head and I let it ruminate for a while. Within thirty minutes, I had plans for what would happen in the next three chapters. It isn’t perfect but I know it will fall into place when I open Scrivener and face that blank page.
There you have it. I overcome my transition deficiencies with mini-outlines.
Do you have any tricks you use to overcome your writing weaknesses?