The following is that plan.
So, here’s the situation: I’m going to focus on Full Circle. My desire to finish that damn WIP has taken over just about everything in my life, so it’s once again getting the nod. It may be a terrible idea—it may be the most horrible idea anyone has ever had in the history of time (I’m pretty sure it’s not, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) and will only lead to me hiding under my desk, crying into a pint of…something before the end of the month—but I’m determined to do it anyway.
But there’s a twist.
And a long rambling tale that goes with it. (But of course there is. I am the one telling this story, after all…)
Right. Okay. Anyway, each installment in my fantasy series, The Coileáin Chronicles, is written in three parts. I don’t know why, really. It just kind of happened that way.
With Full Circle, I’ve been mostly happy (for now) with the first two parts. I know there are things that will need to be addressed and fixed and perhaps outright cut and/or changed, but it’s first draft done and has been for a while now.
The problem is Part Three. I’ve had a plan for the ending but haven’t had any luck with its execution. I think that may be because the original plan involves introducing too many new ideas/characters/whatever too late in the game. Meaning that Part Three has been reading more like the start of a new book, rather than the end of the current one.
As is the case in many things, accepting there is a problem is the first step in dealing with and maybe even solving said problem. So I set out to devise an alternate plan. If the ending was actually a beginning, where did Full Circle actually end?
After some time spent staring at my storyboard, I came up with a possibility. It involved redrawing the lines between the first two parts and the need to write a fourth book in the series, but it was a possibility.
It was also a possibility that survived almost twenty-four hours before I kicked it to the curb, but really, the fact that it made it that long was quite the achievement.
After which, I went back to the original plan. I was all determined to make it work. Because I liked the original plan (and I really didn’t want to write a fourth book…). Which was fine except for one small detail…
It doesn’t work.
But anyway, all of this leads up to the actual, current plan. (You were beginning to think I forgot about that, weren’t you?)
Let me introduce…FrankenWIP.
FrankenWIP is meant to be a (hopefully) successful and happy (well, ‘happy’ being a relative term. No characters will be happy because this is an M.J. Fifield story and she doesn’t do happy, but she herself will be happy if this damn WIP actually gets written) hybrid of the two rejected plans.
I think there are good elements to both of those plans that can be extracted and cut and pasted together into one functional plan. (Hence the name ‘FrankenWIP’ because I’m super clever like that.)
Here’s the process:
First step: Create a new version of the novel for experimentation’s sake. This way, if FrankenWIP is ultimately deemed a failure, nothing is permanently lost. If FrankenWIP is somehow a success, then the original draft will go live at the ‘outdated draft’ farm upstate with all the other outdated drafts.
Second step: Make a massive amount of notes (thirteen pages and counting…) on proposed changes to the plot and character arcs and the domino effect those changes will have on every damn thing in the book. Also note any scenes that can stay as is (I think there may be one so far) or need to be tweaked slightly to reflect the coming avalanche of changes, scenes that could possibly be merged into one new and improved scene, or scenes that need to be outright deleted because their storylines are now obsolete.
Third step: Make a list of all the scenes/dialogue exchanges I would reaaaallllllly like to repurpose for the new Part Three, if I can find a way to pull it off. There are a lot of darlings on the chopping block here. (If they have to go, they have to go, but I will be immensely sad about it.)
Fourth step: Build a new storyboard to reflect the FrankenWIP experiment while keeping the original storyboard intact for reference because I am a visual learner, dammit, and seeing the entire project laid out before me is an integral part of my process. Ignore the significant other when they ask, “How many damn Post-It notes does one person really need?” because the answer is ALL OF THEM.
Fifth step: Delete the now-obsolete scenes (and by ‘delete’, I mean ‘safely store in a separate file, in case this damn thing doesn’t work or I need to strip old scenes for parts to build new scenes’) and don’t freak out when the deleted word count crosses 35,000. Or, rather, don’t freak out too much. Remember that (in theory) those deleted scenes will be replaced with scenes that will lead to the end of this damn WIP. (And a fourth book, apparently, which I’m not psyched about, but that’s a problem for later. Much, much later.)
Sixth step: Start writing those new scenes, following the aforementioned pages upon pages of notes. Typing with my fingers crossed may present a challenge, but I’ll figure it out, I’m sure.
Seventh step: Celebrate when the first six steps lead to a completed novel, even if that celebration looks like me taking the world’s longest nap because holy hell, I’m tired.
So that’s the plan. I don’t know if it’ll work. I don’t know if it can work, but I am currently working my way through steps 1-5, so it’s at least giving off the impression of accomplishment, which is…not nothing?
Step six will begin tomorrow.
My goal was pretty arbitrarily set for 20,000 words in 31 days, which averages out to approximately 646 words per day.
I may write more. I may write less. I don’t know. The word goal itself doesn’t particularly matter. The real goal is to finish the WIP. Regardless of how many words that takes. (But I’m pretty sure it’ll be more than 20k. Because of course it will. I’m writing it, after all.)
I really hope this works.
Stay tuned to this channel for updates…
And, as always, thanks for stopping by. Be safe and well, all.
Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this July? If you’re looking for buddies, you can find me under the very clever user name M.J. Fifield.