After a couple of false starts on Recovery House: Draft Two, I decided to take a few days (weeks) and research ways that other authors approach second drafting.
Almost every article I read said to reverse outline!
I decided to do this on notecards with colored pens and various sticky notes because I love office supplies. Also because having the scenes spread out in front of me in various colors and highlighting helped me see where the big events were, which helped with pacing, plot holes, and other issues.
“BFD” stands for “Big Fucking Deal,” and those stickers mark events that are turning points in the story. Basically, they end an act and send the narrative into the next act. Although I don’t know that I actually have eight acts. I’m not sure. I do have these distinct big things that happen at those points.
After reflecting, I remembered that in one of her seminars, Maggie Stiefvater said that the three act structure goes like this:
- Get your character up a tree
- Throw stones at her
- Get her down gracefully
With that in mind, I’d say that by the first BFD, my MC is in the tree, the middle four columns are Act 2 with lots of stone-throwing, and the last two short columns are Act 3 where each BFD is another branch lower, until she reaches the ground at the end. That sounds reasonable, right? We’ll go with that.
The upshot of this exercise and a few others that I’ve done since I finished the first draft is that I’ve figured out who my characters are. I’ve also made sure they all get/create their share of conflict and resolution. And perhaps most importantly, I am now in love with them and want to spend all my time with them on this journey that is well outlined and ready to be written.
Also, I’d like to remind you that you can get the first novel of this series, Risk Management, at Amazon right now for the very low price of $3.99.