Thursday, 2 August 2012

A bit of prose panel beating

Like everyone who writes, I have periods where I struggle with my writing. Often it has to do with my confidence in my work. Sometimes it has to do with my physical health. At other times, it’s simply that I’ve lost the plot! I talked with a writer friend today and though that realised that my current struggle is to do with the structure of my story. Each time I try to move it forward I'm overwhelmed by what is in my head and not knowing where to insert the new sections I am writing. Under the weight of that, it’s easy to give up. 
My friend suggested that I map out the story on a large sheet of paper using a simple three act structure. She thought this might help to place all the existing character elements and plot in sequence and to identify what was left out of the story. In panel beating my story into this shape, I worked out the inciting incidents and turning points, not just for the main story but for the subplots as well. It was an interesting exercise and not the sort of rigour I normally bring to my writing. Even a rough draft of a workable structure gave me movement and renewed energy for the project. Until then I had been stuck for words more specifically stuck for the right words and in the right order. It’s worth trying if you’re stuck. Add it to your writers’ toolbox.