Sunday, 23 January 2011

Break it Down

What have i done this week?  I finally finished Chapter Two.  It's not perfect and it will require more work in the next draft, but it is a vast improvement on draft one and explores the characters as well as pushing the story forward.  Big tick there, and a big sigh of relief.  I thought i'd never escape its clutches!

Work has taken a lot of my energy this week, and i've only managed one session at the gym, which has left me feeling a bit sluggish.  Weeks like this can make writing seem like one extra chore.  Just another thing that MUST be done.  It can be off-putting.

That's why it's important to break everything down.  First of all break down the day into work, well-being and play.  I'm not saying that everybody should make regualr trips to the gym (though it doesn't do any harm), but you should take some time to move your body.  Working all day in an office and then writing all night is a very sedantary lifestyle.  It can also become quite monotonous.  It's easy to say, perhaps not so easy to execute, but find some time to jog, cycle, swim, dance, walk, jump on the Wii Fit, anything that raises the heartbeat for half an hour.  It will break up the day, it will loosen your joints and muscles and it should help to clear your head ready for an onslaught of creativity.

This week i have learnt the importance of breaking down each chapter.  Like the story, each chapter should have a beginning, middle and end, and the same goes for each scene within the chapter.  I've managed to get through Chapter Three at a good pace by breaking it down into individual scenes and then breaking these down into beginning, middle and end.  On each occasion i have asked myself what the purpose of the scene is, how it fits into the plot, how it progresses from problem to resolution, and how it develops the characters.  This has enabled me to make some important decisions, to remove some paragraphs that don't move the story on, and to reshape the scenes so that they have a greater dramatic impact.  It's much easier than reading through a whole chapter and trying to re-write it from the outside.  Break down that wall of text and then start chiselling out those beautiful cherubs.

Next up, Chapter Four.  I will need to pick up the pace if i'm going to hit my deadline of mid-February!

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