Friday, July 9, 2010

Tracking Chapter Details

I have been working diligently on the re-write of my YA novel and have found that I need to go back and organize my details. I have heard some writers keep bios of their characters, dates and events. Up until now I didn't feel the needed to do that thoroughly -- alas my details are increasing.

I am reading Martha Alderson's, Blockbuster Plots for the upcoming conference I'm attending where she is a facilitator. She has a wonderful chart on organizing scenes, summaries and plots. It is perfect timing to use this tool, although like any tool, I will modify it a little to fit my needs.

I am going to start off by tracking things by chapter: timeline, characters involved in the chapter, goal, conflict, emotional change of characters, and what I want the reader to take from it. The biggest thing for me is to track time and details about my characters. If they mention where they are from, what painting my protagonist is working on, cell phone ring for a character, these are the details I'll need to refer back to to keep things consistent.

I am raising the character's stakes and building tension on every page. The re-write is also making my character's voices more clear and focused.

The best indicator on the success of my re-write is that my 14 year old niece, that is being a test reader, can't wait for me to give her my next chapter.

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