I'm playing around with my latest writing tool – the chapter sequence – and have found another way it helps me expand and revise my novels.
Currently I’m looking for ways to ‘flesh out’ a first draft – to increase my wordcount and deepen my characters at the same time.
In my last post I described how I created snippets of things to add to the story and the chapter sequence helped me find places to insert them.
Now I’m doing it the other way around – reading through the chapter sequence (the short hand version of all my scenes) and asking myself what sorts of things my characters might be wondering or thinking about in each one.
I’ve written these topics down on a list for further development, after which I may add them to the story. My list includes things like:
Scanlon reflects on his actions towards Raina – is he out for justice or revenge?
Raina wonders what kind of mother she’d be
Erin reflects on her life before she landed on the streets
These are all things readers might wonder about as they’re reading the story. And knowing the answers will give them (and me) a deeper understanding of my characters.
The strange thing is, with my process of writing in layers, I can’t always know what some of these topics are going to be until after the first draft is finished.
What’s that great quote? ‘Only when I see what I’ve written do I know what I think.’? In my case it’s, Only when I see what I’ve written do I know the best way to flesh it out.)
But once the first draft is done and laid out in my chapter sequence, suddenly all sorts of possibilities leap out at me. Like stringing lights on a Christmas tree – the structure’s there, I’m just filling in the gaps.
So so far I have two uses for my chapter sequence: reading it through helps me generate ideas for things to add, and when I get an idea out of the blue, the sequence shows me where best to put it.
Nifty gadget, this CS.