I had a spot of trouble with my next Entangled. Not because I couldn't think of what to write, but because I had "too much" to write.
I yap and yap and yap in my CAN THIS MANUSCRIPT BE SAVED workshop about choosing the right scene to illustrate your character's journey steps. I talk and talk about keeping those scenes tight, combining journey steps to assure you have a really tight plot that moves...so readers are on the edges of their seats. So when I ended up with a huge lump of story and had to decide how to tell that story smoothly and efficiently, I knew had to to pick just the right scenes and use them efficiently or I was going to go over word count. LOL
So what did I do...
First, I divided the story into segments. I like Michael Hague's Six Stage Plot Structure...which can be found on storymastry.com. He has tons of free articles (great articles) and lots of things like books and DVDs you can buy from his website. The man is a master teacher. And though he teaches about writing screenplays, his information about STORY is right on the money.
Anyway, so I divided my story into sections Setup, New Situation, Progress, etc., etc. (I really want you to go to Michael Hague's website and look this stuff up. You will be so glad you did) Then I made a list of things that HAD TO HAPPEN (to make the plot work) and I put them into the section in which they belonged. Then, because this is a series and it's also a story about a small town, I made a list of the things about the small town I needed to get in. But also, I made a list of little things I needed to remember...Like the H and H from book one might have left on their honeymoon in chapter 2, but they did have to come home sometime. LOL Then I slid those in where I thought they belonged.
With that guideline (which is a lot slimmer than you might think it is but still kind of meaty) I started writing. But I didn't just say, Okay, today I'm going to write the scene where he tells her he's not the father of the baby he was accused of fathering 12 years ago...I said, what TWO journey steps can be illustrated here.
Now...I don't do things like that willy-nilly. I looked for 2 things that seriously fit, and also enhanced each other. I chose journey steps that would electrify each other. :)
This story is going to be face-paced and exciting!
Why? Not just because I took the time to plan. But because I knew what I wanted to get in. And I'm not squeezing it in. Planning makes it possible for me to be clever. :)
So even though I know there are a lot of pantsers out there who groan when I talk about organizing, do it anyway...Or do it what I call the panster way. Maybe you CAN'T know your whole story, but can you "plan" 25 or 50 pages ahead...or in 25 or 50 page segments?
Your story will be tighter. You will find fewer threads left hanging. And you will love the end result.
Happy Monday...and Happy Reading!