#ROW80 / The Process

Structure and #ROW80 check-in


You might have noticed over my past few blog posts, I’ve been thinking a lot about structure. Mostly because (as I’ve said), I’ve been reading Save the Cat. After I finished the book I immediately downloaded another that had been recommended, Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.

I’ve been having difficulty keeping up with my writing goals for #ROW80. Not because I wasn’t trying to write, but mainly because I was getting stuck. I know why I’m stuck–I outlined and began to write before I understood the structure of a good story. I really had no business writing and writing and writing when I had nowhere to go (besides adding more and more dribble).

I knew I needed to go back and restructure this story but I kept debating if that should be done now or after I complete the draft. I have finally decided it will probably be more useful now. The reason: I think it will save me more time in revisions to write it correctly from the beginning. Now, I’m not talking internal editor kind of stuff. Let the typos and weak word choices flow. I’ll correct those later on. I’m talking setting up all the beats of my story so it actually is a story and not just a string of 60,000-80,000 meaningless words. It’s not so much editing as it is doing what I have should have done to begin with.

I know a lot of people are pantsers and prefer to just let the words come as they may. And that’s great for you. But for me, I need to have a roadmap. And mine has me driving off a bridge right now. So, I’m going to put a pause on the 750 words per day goal and restate it as this:

–Write logline (and title)

–Make the beat sheet

–Outline based on beat sheet (I don’t know if I’ll go so far as to make a board, but as with any of my other, “I won’t need to do that” moments so far, I probably will)

–THEN go back to the 750 words/day goal

–I will continue with the goal of 3 blog entries per week (at least). I’m doing them Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for sure. I’ll throw in an entry on another day if needed (like the Sunday #ROW80 check-in).

Gosh it feels good to say that. I can almost say I know what I’m doing (like that moment when you’re trying to nurse your first baby and it’s just NOT working and then suddenly you get it, he gets it and all is well with the world…if you’ve ever experienced it, I feel a lot like that right now).

Based on my goals as they were previously stated, I’m ahead for the week: 2000/1500 words completed (which was slowly helping me catch up from not hitting write goals last week). I’m also on track with blogging and I finished beta reading. All in all not bad. But now my focus changes. Wish me luck!


8 thoughts on “Structure and #ROW80 check-in

  1. Glad you are feeling good now you have shifted your focus a little for a while. I am trying to plan out my longer piece at the moment. I tried to sit down and write but had no clue where to go with it so back to the planning!

    Hope the rest of your week goes well!

  2. Glad things are going well. Understanding how to keep a story flowing is, IMHO, one of the biggest learning curves in writing. All the weak words and typos are pretty easy fixes. Keep on keeping on. 😀

  3. Save the Cat is on my reading list too but I’ve found quite a bit online so am trying the beats with my new WiP while the last one is with my first reader. Larry Brooks has a fantastic blog storyfix.com you should check out if you haven’t yet.

    You are so right that fixing that stuff now is better than trying to do it in revisions!! It will save you SO many headaches! I’m taking the extra time with this WiP because I’ve ‘been there, done that, and have the t-shirt,’ LOL

    Cool analogy Erin 🙂

    • Thanks, Raelyn. Oddly enough, Jami Gold shared a link on Twitter to Larry Brooks’ blog today. It’s like the internet is giving me signs that I am on track with wanting to study structure right now, LOL!

  4. Hey Erin! Good job on being willing to backtrack and get yourself “mapped out.” I’m a roadmap writer, too. I want my writing to have a point and, like you, I started writing before I was sure of where I was going. So I had to stop and get organized, as well. I did make a board and I’m loving it. It’s my art map in progress. Best of luck!

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