Nothing is particularly hard if you break it into small jobs. – Henry Ford
I did something with The WIP that I didn’t do with WTRPCPSU: I wrote out the synopsis first.
Now, I like having the synopsis handy. It acts as a guide to keep me on track. If I forget the general plot or find myself getting sidetracked, it reels me back in. I know the ending, I know what needs to happen to get there, and I can steer the manuscript in that general direction.
I sort of had written one for WTRPCPSU. I had general notecards for each scene. I knew what the ending would be, but as I plotted each scene on paper (for the first few chapters, anyway), I realized that the scene I envisioned wouldn’t work, so I ended up changing it. The general course of events went as planned, but actual scenes got moved around quite a bit.
I’m starting to wonder if I wasn’t onto something with my note cards, though.
When you only write a single scene, there’s a kind of freedom in doing so. There’s a beginning. There’s an end. There’s a certain level of action that is required to happen. Maybe a new key character is introduced. Maybe the protagonist is having a revelation. Maybe she’s fighting with the antagonist. Maybe she’s running through a wooded forest in search of the love interest. Whatever it is, it’s there to move the plot forward.
So as I contemplate the impossible task that is my novel, when I take a step back and reframe it (as an old therapist advised I frequently do with things I have difficulty embracing), I see that it’s really nothing more than a series of small jobs.
And each job, or scene as it is in this case, can – and should – be addressed and completed independently. (Stitching them together is what the second draft is for, anyway, right?)
Perhaps I need to return to my synopsis and figure out what those specific scenes are now. And I have an entire stack of index cards willing to assist me.