YA Indie Carnival: Fiction Pie

YA  writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts, hopes and  dreams about what it’s like to go indie in today’s publishing world.  The future’s so bright, we built our own place to play.

This week we talk about recipes for plotting our stories.

I always thought I was a Pantser aka flying by the seat of the pants. It’s the romantic version of the creation of words. As opposed to the evil, organised, planned creation called Plotting.  But, as much as I claimed that wild horses would never drag me over to the dark side, I had to come to terms with it. Eventually.

The first pin to burst my bubble was the matter of a full request from an agent. With first draft in hand I had to begin the process of edits. Yup, some like ’em, some hate ’em. But editing, like sleep, is totally and unequivocably necessary. So I edited.

Problem was, my WIP had timelines and flashbacks. And I’d only done two things to get this novel moving :

1. Planned the whole novel in my head aka many, many daydreams.
2. Used Chris Vogler’s 12 Step Hero’s Journey in THE WRITER’S JOURNEY to do a rough outline, and used the 3 Act structure to plane the beginning, middle and end (yeah, I promised myself this was not plotting)

So when I started my edit, I realised I was all fired up with no idea where I needed to go. So I Googled. Yup. I did. The amazing thing was I found I was not alone in my quest to learn.

And further I found I had actually done a bit of serious planning along the way. You see, I like mind maps. I love to visualise things. And I’m a bit lazy to do the whole pen and paper thing. A while back I’d searched online for a neat mapping tool and found Freemind. It’s brilliant. Even has Export to Excel and Word options. Brilliant. So I mapped out my 3 Acts, then used the 12 Step Hero’s Journey to create a basic structure. And after a while, this is what I ended up with:

Yup. I was totally guilty of plotting. Glad I didn’t know it at the time. Using this ‘guide’ I wrote the book, one scene at a time. Even more amazing, this basic outline was enough to keep me moving so quickly that I finished writing this book in 24 days (not counting weekends as apparently my family owned my weekends and I couldn’t complain, not really).

But, despite this great and detailed amount of non-planning I still had problems editing. So I went back to Excel. Excel and I are friends. After winning NANOWRIMO 2010 I used and eventually bought Scrivener for Windows. Scrivener is amazing, and has the option to Export scene descriptions. So I dumped the final descriptions unto Excel and neatened the spreadsheet up, using it to track my progress, any scene changes, and the length of my scenes for pacing. And this is what I ended up with:

Yup, I pretty much tracked everything, and managed to complete the first full edit in a month. I especially liked the little graphs that measured the length of my scenes. This was awesome for pacing, to remind me to split the longer scenes, to revise in case my scenes were too long and tension filled, and to check if those little scenes were really needed to move the story along. Not to mention a bunch of other things … The best thing the spreadsheet did was to help me with my Timeline, as days, weeks and months merged to create a neat little novel.

And this became my process. You see, I found this publishing company who was keen on me, and as these things go, there are editors and copy editors poking around in those precious words I created. So it’s really good to have a plan under such circumstances. I realised I had created my own little recipe for the creation of a novel.

And as with most recipes it will most likely get tweaked, added too, slimmed down, and eventually perfected into the perfect plan.

And then, it will probably change… 🙂

Coming December 16! You let us know why you’ve been naughty or nice and enter to win books at each carni’s booth all week, from 12/16 to 12/23. On Dec. 23, find out what books you’ve won!

‘Tis the Season of the Squeee!

In preparation for December’s release of Guardians of the Cross, author T. R. Graves is sending out a coupon which will allow the most-recent edition Warriors of the Cross Click here to downloaded for FREE. Enter coupon LY87N good through 12/20/11. Guardians of the Cross will be released 12/24!

Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie Releases December 24th! Join her blog tour NOW!

Friend of the Carnival Tiffany King’s Blog tour for book 3 in The Saving Angels series on NOW!

Check out the new trailer for The Midnight Guardian series by Bryna Butler!
Melissa Pearl, YA author of Golden Blood has just started a new blog called YAlicious. It’s a blog to celebrate YA fiction and aimed at teens and readers of YA. Swing on by and check it out!

Visit the rest of the Carnival entertainers for their special recipes, concoctions and creations:

1. Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. Heather Self 4. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 6. Darby Karchut, author of GRIFFIN RISING
7. Lexus Luke 8. PJ Hoover, Author of SOLSTICE, Blogging at ROOTS IN MYTH
9. Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy 10. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
11. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed 12. Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series
13. Courtney Cole, author of The Bloodstone Saga 14. Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
15. Dani Snell’s Refracted Light Reviews 16. Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
17. M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 18. Abbi Glines, author of Breathe and The Vincent Boys
19. Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind 20. Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
21. Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler 22. Nicole Williams, author of Eternal Eden, Falling Eden
23. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 24. TG Ayer, Author of Dead Radiance
25. Melissa Pearl, author of Golden Blood

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post 🙂 It’s cool seeing your journey. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Tee G Ayer says:

      Thanks Mel! Looking forward to reading all the recipes for the other Carnies too 🙂
      xx Tee


  2. Wow, you are incredibly organized with your story structure! That’s great–I am a firm believer in getting the scaffold right before you really do the full-fledged writing. I like Scrivener for plotting. The Indie Carnival sounds good too. I’ll be back to visit this site asap.


    1. Tee G Ayer says:

      Hi Catherine. It wasn’t me! Frankly I had no idea I’d fallen into an actual process. I guess its all part of the creative learning process.
      xx Tee


  3. Patti Larsen says:

    So happy to see you come to the dark side… mwahahaha–seriously, awesome job, Tee and great to see live and in color–very inspiring!


    1. Tee G Ayer says:

      Larsen, the dark sides not so bad after all… And thanks, it’s really the first time I’ve stepped back and looked at my process as a whole. Amazing, didn’t know I even had one!


  4. I love having the bare bones of structure. I guess I’m BI. *facepalm* I’m a panster & a plotter. I fell in love with Scrivner while NaNo-ing a few years back. I’ve won NaNoWriMo nine times and the two most successful years were ones where I used my Fiction Pie recipe. 13 on Halloween’s first draft was a NaNo novel. Some books evolve differently. Winnemucca took 5 years to write. And you are right. My main character was taking an enchanted road trip. It took two weeks to find out 80 pages of what my MC Ginny wanted to say. It took 4+ years for the rest! Grrr. Maybe if I had your awesome plotting I could have sped that sucker up! I love the graphic for the Undead Poets Society BTW!


    1. Tee G Ayer says:

      Yeah Laura, the BI’s have it! Totally!
      I keep thinking I need to get organised, especially as Dead Embers is slowly coming to life. Sigh. Who knows though, I think it does take time to get organised and I might need some help in that aread 🙂
      Love Dead Poets – awesome poetry group- you should check them out 😉


  5. I always love to read how other writers revise. I’m revising my second novel in the past month so this post is perfect for me right now.


    1. Tee G Ayer says:

      Hey Kelly, good luck with novel #2! I so know how that feels. And it’s been great looking over my process for myself too. Is this second novel a YA or MG?


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