Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
While revising my manuscript over the past two weeks, I was chugging along, no problems, following my notes about what needs to be added/changed/deleted from each scene as I revise it. I had already dumped all scenes that do not fit into the revised concept for my story.
But then, on Monday, when I was four scenes away from the big turning point at half, I discovered I needed a way to see, in a highly abbreviated form, what's been happening in each scene, in each of the story's four throughlines. That way I will know if, emotionally speaking, I have adequately set up the big thing that happens at half. You might be a gifted writer who can keep all of this in your head. Unfortunately, I am not.
How to do that easily? I had originally thought that yWriter would do the trick for me. It has a story boarding component to it, but working with it, I felt boxed in. I had long since pulled everything out of it and gone back to using Microsoft Word.
So, what was I to do? I could use the painstaking, time-consuming process of writing it out on scene cards. Ugh. Are you as tired of that process as I am?
Then I poked around the web and discovered Throughline by the Wright Brothers, who also developed Dramatica Pro, which I love. Here's six reasons why I love "The Deck," as it's called, and you might too:
- You are working from your computer to create and arrange the index cards. No writing them in pencil until you fingers cramp, and then standing on your head, arranging all those cards on the carpet. The carpet, which you suddenly become all too aware that you haven't vacuumed for two weeks. Maybe more.
- You can add and delete cards with a single click. If you want only the scene title to show up on your card, you can do that, and then double-click for scene contents. I like having it all up front, and so I write everything on the front of the card. Oh, the glory of having a bird's eye view of my manuscript, from my computer screen!
- Editing content is SO EASY, compared to index cards. Add, subtract, cut, paste, change font, text color, size--if you want to get that fancy with it.
- To rearrange, just drag and drop.
- You can have as many cards as you want in a row by re-sizing all from the lower right of the screen. Because I am now ordering my manuscript by Dramatica Pro's Signposts and Journeys, and every story is comprised of four throughlines, each with a total of four signposts and three journeys, I've set my cards (see above), according to that. (Note on image above: you are not looking at the complete manuscript, but only to the halfway point.) I've given each throughline a different colored card, so I am aware at a glance of what's happening in each one, and where the characters are emotionally in each. By Dramatica "rules," if you are working in Signpost 2, for example, then each of the four throughline Signpost 2 scenes need to be completed before moving on to Journey 2, although they do not need to be completed in the same order each time. The colored cards show me this at a glance.
- You can also export this information and print it up.
Here's another great reason: It costs only $9.95, and you have it forever, for every manuscript you write.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
When we’re working on a manuscript, it’s helpful to have a visual in mind of our audience. Charlotte Rains Dixon wrote a post on it recently, which I mentioned in last Friday’s link roundup.
I don’t have much trouble visualizing the teenage girls that I’m writing to as I revise my Young Adult manuscript. It's a contemporary romance about two teens, one with a very big dream and the other who, it would appear, is okay with “ordinary.” It takes place in think "Music Man" small town America.
I have seen plenty of girls (and their mothers) in the library where I used to work, who would enjoy this book, or one like it.
They’re probably not the girls who frequent the library sporting shades of hair from blue to orange, and wear short, skin-tight skirts and army boots with four-inch heels. I have nothing against these girls, but they are probably not my target audience.
The purple haired girls are the hip and trendy girls, or the geeky, maybe wanabe hip and trendy girls. It's possible that they might go for the type of book I write. My heroines are not Buffy. They are not Bella. They may not single-handedly save the world, but they're not passive wimps either. Their world is smaller in scope, school and community-sized, actually, but certainly important to them and the people sharing it. They are also girls who want and need a great boyfriend!
Mostly, I envision my audience to be the other girls, and there are just as many, possibly more, of them as the blue-haired girls. They are the popular girls and the girls who are being homeschooled, and/or are from strongly conservative backgrounds. They're the girls whose mothers try to exert some control over what their daughters are reading.
When I was a children's librarian, these mothers frequently came and counseled with me about appropriate titles for their daughters, and became irate when they discovered their daughters had stuffed books for an older, or more worldly-wise, YA audience into their checkout bags.
As authors, we need to be true to ourselves and write books that reflect who we are, our values, what we like to read and, what we want to offer our audience. We write to an audience that shares similar tastes and values.
Who is your audience? Who are you writing to?
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
When she ran away from the juvenile home she was raised in, Cat Barker left more than an unstable childhood behind. She also left her first love, Jake Stone. The two had more in common than anyone understood, but neither knew how to trust. Now Cat needs help, and there's only one person she can turn to—Jake, her daughter's secret father. Though Cat can see the tender man she once cared for, she still fears love and marriage. Until a daunting challenge renews her faith—and teaches them all a lesson about trust.
This book was an exceptionally tender-hearted read, as well as a page-turner. Jake Stone and Cat Barker met when they were teenagers living in a home run by the state. There, they fell in love, but Cat didn't have enough self esteem to believe that he could truly love her, and so she ran away at 18. He was pretty sure he wasn’t good husband and father material anyway, as he was raised by an abusive father.
Years go by. Jake becomes a wealthy gambler in Las Vegas, sending Cat some money every year. When illness threatens her life, and there is no one to take care of Jake’s secret child, Cat takes their little girl to meet her daddy. Jake persuades Cat to travel with him to Dry Creek to attend his brother’s wedding. As Cat’s health worsens, Jake’s love and fears for her and their daughter grow.
This is a prodigal son story, which seems to be a staple to inspirational romance, and I can understand why. In this story, Jake not only finds his way home to the small town of Dry Creek and his family, but to God as well.
Apparently this is the 20th book Janet Tronstad has written in the Dry Creek series, some contemporary and some historical. I will definitely be reading more. Wildflower Bride in Dry Creek is already sitting on a shelf, waiting to be read ...