Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From Point A to Point B

Maven Darcy BurkeI received what I think is an awesome comment from a CP yesterday. She said there was no sagging middle in Her Wicked Ways. And she said it in reference to the character arc I'm building for the heroine. This made me all warm and fuzzy inside. It also made me aware that I'd never stumbled through sagging middle "problems" when drafting HWW. I had a lot of these problems writing Glorious and I wonder why I had them with one book and not the other.

Any MaveFaves want to shout out the probable (I think) answer? Storyboarding! Once again, storyboarding has helped me in ways I didn't imagine. It's not so much that it prevented a sagging middle, it's that it helped me build a character arc. Now, I didn't get it perfect on the first draft. I'm revising/polishing right now and plan to go through chapter by chapter and make sure I'm nailing both the h/h arcs. But having turning points for the characters and the various storylines is a huge help in establishing - and sticking to - that arc.

We all know middles are the meat of the story. And I think arcs are maybe the meat of our characters. Showing their growth through action, introspection, and dialogue (yep, there's AID again) is what gets us from Point A to Point B or from "Once upon a time" to "The End." At least, it seemed to work for Her Wicked Ways. Ask me again after I draft The Tale of Gideon (yikes, that really needs a better working title).

What do you do to create and build on your character arcs? How do you keep them '"true" throughout the book? What's your secret to sagging middles (if you have one)?


Carrie Ryan said...

I've been pondering structure a lot lately and this post definitely gave me a lot to think about! I rarely know my character's arc during the first draft -- it might be there, but I just don't see it. Often, I have to get the story down and then take a critical look and pull those elements out in revision.

As for the sagging middle, I always try not to write boring parts and to keep the character in trouble. I think it helps that I start each scene with "what's the worst that could happen?"

lacey kaye said...

I lurve storyboarding!!! Agree, too, there is no sagging middle in HWW. I read that in a few hours, if I recall correctly. I expect to hear any minute now that it's sold for mega-money :-)

Beverley Kendall said...

Secret to sagging middle for me is "The Marshall Plan". I really swear by this method (at least for me and my books).

Jackie Barbosa said...

Hmmm, my plan for the sagging middle is more situps. Unfortunately, I haven't got around to doing them...

Oh, you mean in books? Hmmmm. I haven't done any storyboarding yet, but I try never to write a scene that doesn't end with some sort of "hook" or change in the story question, whether I'm at the beginning, middle, or end. I like to think this keeps the story from ever seeming to sag or get dull, though I'll admit, it's been a long time since I wrote anything that was much over a hundred pages long, and it's a lot easier to keep the pace up in a shorter work,

Erica Ridley said...

I <3 storyboarding!!!!!

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