What I'm reading: The Drowning Pool, by Jacqueline Seewald
A little over a week ago, I mentioned trying the storyboard approach to writing,and I promised to update.
Things have been moving along. My 'idea' board grows – and since I take off the little sticky notes once the idea has been incorporated, it grows and shrinks as I write. The other board summarized the plot points of each POV character. When a scene or a What if? occurs to me, I'll put it on a bigger yellow sticky, first on my idea board, and then to the summary board. Clues, once mentioned, move from the idea board (assuming they didn't just appear as I was writing), and once they're dealt with, they get tossed.
You can see I've made some progress since last time.
Since this book is turning out to have not only 3 POV characters, but at least 3, if not more, intertwining mystery plot threads, it's helping me make sure I'm introducing them, addressing them, and weaving them through the chapters.
When I tried this system the first time, I was trying to plot the whole book—or at least have a broad overview of what should be happening in each chapter. That didn't work for me, and this modification seems to be much more productive. By looking at the chapter squares, I can see which characters have POV scenes, but I normally write the scene, THEN put the summary on the board. As one scene triggers ideas for the next, I have a parking place for them on my idea board, and I can move things around much more easily than trying to work in a document file. With this system, I can see everything at once.
And I don't worry about losing things during our frequent thunderstorms! Last week, we were getting 2000 strikes an hour in some areas.
I've also had some unexpected 'treats'. I had a 'spear carrier' character who was mentioned only in passing in Chapters 1 and 3, as a way to give a little insight into one of my primary characters. Imagine my surprise when she ended up being murdered in Chapter 11. Even though she never appeared in person prior to her unexpected death, she became an important character. Her demise brought several of my preliminary story threads together, and I now have a woven piece of fabric. Of course, new questions have been raised, and I'll be moving Post-its as I work the answers into the plot.
Then there's the still unanswered question about who died in the traffic accident in Chapter Three, and what the mysterious pieces of paper they found in his wallet could mean. I think I'll go buy more Post-its. Different colors.
Tomorrow, my guest is Karen McCullough, and she's talking about why writers write, even when the lows outnumber the highs. Wednesday, we're starting a two-day journey to New Orleans with a group of chefs. You won't want to miss it. And, of course, Homicide Hussey will be back on Friday. It's going to be a busy week! Be sure to stop by.