My only goal for 2018 is to get Chase the Ace into a publishable form. The time immediately following NaNoWriMo has been a break from grinding out words, but turning the calendar to 2018 has me focused all over again.
It’s not a Christmas story. Any more.
The holiday rush and oversupply of Christmas romance movies had me momentarily considering doing the same to my novel. For a lot of December, I got the exact same comment again and again, “Is it a Christmas story? Because you should do that.”
By New Year’s however, I was tired of the implausible plot points. Especially when my father sat down and accurately predicted the plot and outcome of Rocky Mountain Christmas in the first ten minutes.
Since the end of November, I’ve been fiddling with ways to build out the story, while opening and closing plot holes. Since fiction writing is a new world for me, I sought out and read a bunch of information about how to approach the revision. I did two things to structure my thinking: write a logline and use worksheets to organize my story.
Revision Step 1: Logline
Writing the logline took me back to my media relations days, using some writing muscles that hadn’t been stretched in a while. It’s basically the elevator pitch of the story, and, fingers crossed, interests people enough to keep reading.
An ambitious reporter returns to her hometown to cover a wild lottery, reconnects with her widowed high school boyfriend, and wonders if she’s chasing the right thing.
I found some terrific resources that helped me crank out a logline in an hour.
- Graeme Shimmin’s “Writing a Killer Logline.” Includes a terrific formula I’ll go back to again and again.
- diyMFA’s “How to Write a Killer Logline” helped me edit and refine.
- The Write Practice’s “How to Easily Write a Great Logline” has a great exercise for practising logline-writing.
Revision Step 2: Worksheet plotting
In the future, I will do this first. There’s a reason why templates for storytelling are effective, and these approaches were useful in figuring out an order of action in my novel that makes sense, is engaging, and tells a satisfying story. Even though it’s about screenwriting, it’s still storytelling, and Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat is the gold standard. (Here’s a Save the Cat beat sheet cheat sheet) Based on Snyder’s his methodology, writer Jami Gold has created a series of useful worksheets (at least, useful for policy analysts transitioning to fiction writers). I’ve gotten the most use of her “Master Beat Sheet,” but there are a lot of options there for all kinds of plotting and storytelling.
Using these tools, I’ve reordered what I’ve already written for a more satisfying story progression. And so, the revision begins.
Revising Step 3: Reading, editing & writing the bloody thing already
Now I’m on Step 3. Talk to you soon!