I need to get Nita out the door, so I’m getting serious about it. Well, I was always serious about it, but now I’m REALLY serious about it. It has problems that I have to identify, which means analysis. Argh. So here’s my plan. (Yes, once again, you’re being subjected to me talking about my writing problems. Feel free to skip.)
As many of you know, I write in acts, usually four acts, defined by the turning points they end in. Currently, my acts are too long, except for the last one which is a little short, but I can fix all of that. The problem (I think) is that there’s so much Stuff in this book that it needs focused. So my first task, after I reread everything, is to tighten everything up. Which means an act outline.
And that meant figuring out the major aspects of the plot to focus on. I decided on five:
Nita’s character arc. (Duh.)
Nick’s character arc. (Also duh.)
The love story. (It’s the romance, stupid.)
The antagonist’s plot (Duh again.)
The subplot romance. (Because I love it.)
That’s it, the five points I have to hit in each act. All others need not apply.
And that left me with this [redacted for spoilers]:
Nita tries to ignore the supernatural, focuses on island problems.
Nick starts to change, deals with emotions, focuses on future as Devil
Nita and Nick turn to each other for help.
[redacted] finds out from Vinnie that Nita and Nick are talking, sends Ukobach to kill her, tells [redacted] to increase the poison dosage for Nick.
[Nita meets Button, Max comes to Earth]
Nita has to adapt to the supernatural
Nick becomes emotionally human again
Nita and Nick join forces, assemble a team
[redacted] sends [redacted] to kill Nita, [redacted] to seduce him. tells [redacted] to increase the poison dose again.
[Button and Max meet [redacted] they call a truce]
Nita is fully in on the supernatural and Nick
Nick is [redacted] but keeps coming back to Nita
Nita and Nick fall in love [redacted]
[redacted] poisons Nick and [redacted], tries to kill Nita a third time
[Button and Max work together [redacted]
Nita and Nick save each other, commit
[Button and Max are together]
Yeah, I know the [redacted]s are annoying. Sorry about that.
I’m going to lose some stuff I like when I focus on those five points in four acts, but that’s writing for you. If not “kill your darlings,” at least cut them and put them in a file where you’ll eventually forget them.
The thing about breaking the book into acts is that it makes it manageable. Instead of 100,000 words, I’ve got 33,000, 28,000, 24,000, 15,000 to write. Actually what I’ve got in this draft is 34,326, 36,282, 30,715, 11,590. So some revision ahead. Much cutting. Focus! I can do this.
Of course, Bob keeps sending me messages about pirate zombies on icebergs, so it’s not clear sailing here, but I will get this book out the door.
And then my agent will be astounded at four finished books in one year. Well, I’m astounded. So if you don’t hear from me for awhile, I’m cutting like crazy, focusing like a demon, and repelling pirate zombies from my increasingly demanding collaborator. It’ a good life.
So what’s new with you?
50 thoughts on “And We’re Back to Nita.”
I have lost track of how many times you have written this book. In engineering, they have the expression “It’s time to shoot the engineer and get the product to market.” You know how that applies to authors and their books. Nobody wants to shoot you, Jenny, but get that product to market. Quit over-engineering it. That’s all I got to say about that.
Besides, I bet I can get 40 Arghers to admit that they want to see the same obsession over every scene and act of Haunting Alice. Nita is done. Stick a fork in it.
I took it to market, remember? It was rejected by two agents and an editor, three people in NYC I trust absolutely.
So now I’m fixing it. Plus it’s unfocused and rambling. Trust me on this. Even Bob thinks so.
Meh. It was worth a shot. I really, really, really want Haunting Alice.
Unless the product isn’t ready yet. In which case, that’s dangerous advice.
I beg to differ. Nita is done when Jenny says it is done and not before. And I eagerly anticipate reading the final product!
I have seen her do this many times. And I think, please don’t cut a word – I love them all. Then she cuts & it’s better. Every time.
I have a novel I so need to do this for.
Maybe this time I will follow your example, Jenny – & do it.
Well, figuring out the focus is huge. I’m feeling a lot more confident about it now.
Jenny, I must admit I read every one of your Nita starts AND enjoyed every one. I am sorry for the people who missed out on your road to excellence. I know the book will be terrific and I will be secretly smug when my DD and dear GDD by the book, because I know more than they do. Thanks for that Jenny.
Sounds like the break has given you a fresh perspective. Hope you can sprint through this and have fun – it can be so satisfying to edit when you’re on a roll.
Jenny, You have a plan. That’s terrific — go to it!
I tell people who get snotty with me about writing romance that romance is the most complex form of genre fiction. The author has to juggle and align 4 different arcs–the external plot arc, two character arcs and a romance arc.
Most other fiction just has one or two arcs. In a mystery, the detective doesn’t have to grow and change to solve the mystery. They just have to follow the clues.
It’s definitely the most elastic genre. You can do anything. I love it.
Elastic makes me think of pantyhose.
That’s a really good point! I never noticed that
More Jennifer Crusie books! Snoopy Dance!!
And also, if you so chose, I bet you could write a heck of a zombie pirates on an iceberg falling in love story. Maybe whenever you are done with all of the current works in progress that your audience is so eager to read.
The problem with a zombie romance is the body pieces falling off. I can’t get past that. Yes, I know Warm Bodies was a fun movie. Still, no.
Besides, Bob’s more of a kill-all-the-zombies kind of guy. It really bothered him that Vince didn’t kill anybody in the series we just did. He just finished the latest Phoebe book so I’m sure he got some relief there.
Speaking of- here is the blurb about Phoebe and the Traitor:
Phoebe and the Traitor (The Organization Book 2)
by Bob Mayer
Shane and Agnes are getting married, Lisa Livia is standing in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in love with a Duke (sort of), and Phoebe is on the trail of a traitor. Of course, none of that is as simple as it appears…
It will be out 10/31! I already preordered
I says to myself, “Preordering! What an excellent idea.” So off to amazon I go, where I read, “You pre-ordered this item on January 20, 2022.” Huh. Happy Halloween to me!
He told me he married them off. That Bob, such a romantic.
Zombies can’t be the protagonists, but they can be the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend making a better goodbye and giving their blessing on a new relationship before eating your brains.
The protagonist in Warm Bodies was a zombie. Great protagonist.
I’m okay with no zombies. Not really a fan. Now pirates…
Deb, I’m definitely not a zombie fan; and not a vampire fan either, and I am with you about pirates too.
Yeah I don’t get the appeal of zombies and they are the opposite of romantic.
“Murdered by pirates is good.”
Hahahahahahahaha! Such great lines from a great movie. Useful in so many situations.
Thanks for sharing that. It sounds very complex, but if you have it worked out in your head and it’s just getting it down in print, maybe it’s not so insurmountable. All that poisoning and killing sounds like Bob may have rubbed off on you a bit. LOL
Didn’t you do a fun thing with a diner and Vikings that was sidelined by Nita? I don’t suggest turning the Vikings into zombies ( zombies near food – just no). Viking ghosts? Viking shapechangers? Viking supernatural beings? Let Bob have the Vikings but no zombies.
Yeah, but that was just goofing around. I wandered off when it didn’t go anywhere. I may drag Bob the Plotter in on that and do it as a novella. Assuming I can sucker him into it.
I’m just sitting here with my finger ready to click “pre order” or “buy.” Post that link when you got it! 😉
Four books in one year from you would be like Christmas! Hurrah! (I’m sure they’ll be spread out, but still. After yesterday when an apparently healthy cat had a sudden heart attack I need all the good news the universe has to offer.)
I am so sorry about your cat. Did it survive the heart attack?
I’m sorry about your cat.
I’m so sorry. That’s awful.
Oh no. I am so sorry.
I’m so sorry.
You have my sympathies.
Oh no, Charlene, I’m so sorry about your cat. xxx
What a shock for you. It’s hard enough to lose a beloved pet, but we usually get some warning. Take care of yourself.
Oh, no. I’m so sorry about your cat.
Oh no! So sorry! Hugs. All the hugs.
So sorry about your cat. Always hard but especially out of the blue like that. Hugs.
Oh no! I’m so sorry about the cat, Charlene. Sending all the hugs.
Hey is anybody doing nanowrimo this year?
If you’re looking for buddies my username is logicaljudy
I love watching you think out loud, Jenny, and always learn something from it.
Haha! If not ‘kill your darlings…’, that line is gold- use it somewhere!
The Kill Your Darlings part is William Faulkner, not me (And before that Arthur Quiller Couch said “Murder your darlings.”) Put them in a file, that’s me.
Me too. There’s an outtakes subfolder in most of my book folders, an ‘outtakes and trials’ folder under the main Writing directory. Straight-up deleting things seems unnecessary when computer memory is so cheap. 🙂
Comments are closed.