Thursday, May 26, 2011


Current Project: Nine-book LEGACY series
Status: Nearing the halfway point of the series
Posted by: Genene Valleau

I mentioned in one of my comments on our blog that I hit a point last week where I needed to step back and re-plot some of the major events in my nine-book series.

I usually do this about three-quarters of the way through a single book. However, with this series, I'm doing more plotting than usual (hard to believe, I know!). And this re-plotting happened just short of the halfway mark in the series.

Re-plotting is one of the times I take advantage of tools and techniques I've learned in classes/ presentations, or read in books--most of the time mutated to fit my own unique writing process.

I had lots of great action events--explosions, fires, one of the main characters getting shot--lots of "stuff" going on, but it seemed to be getting mired in circles rather than moving forward.

I realized I hadn't dug deep enough to show the building tension and rising stakes behind these actions for both the main characters and the villain/antagonist.

So for each major action event, I listed the steps that led to each event--arranging them from simply irritating to the last straw that led to an extreme reaction--and what motivated the main characters and antagonist to react as they did.

This process of re-plotting gave me a clear direction, some additional ideas for plot twists and surprises, and kicked me back into intense writing mode for several of these books--at least for now.

Since this series is fairly complex, I'll probably be re-plotting several times over the course of writing these books. How about you? Does your writing process involve stepping back and clarifying--or changing--the direction of your plot? Or do you know your direction with certainty from the time you start writing?


Deborah Wright said...

Genene, this was a timely post (again) for me. I'm still discovering what works for me and the most important lesson I'm learning is to "never say never."

Just today I felt like I was floundering with my book. I've been rewriting what I thought was the opening scene, but it hasn't felt right--I didn't know where to go next. So I did just what you talked about in your post, I stepped back. And I realized that I needed to know a bit more about the plot than I'd thought. Guess I'm really not a complete pantser after all!

So now I'm working on fleshing out the bones of the story a bit more before getting back to the writing. And it feels very good. :-)

Genene Valleau said...

Debbie, so glad this was helpful!

My writing process is always evolving, especially with this series. :)

Having just gone through this, I can really relate about it feeling good to be back to writing!

Paty Jager said...

You still amaze me with all the plotting you do.

You're right there are instances in every book where you have to step back and reevaluate a direction or a character and see if a change is needed to make things flow or come out better.

Congrats, Deb, on discovering you need to reevaluate.

Genene Valleau said...

LOL, Paty! I'm still in awe of "pantsters" who can just write and come up with a wonderful book! Guess we all know this: every writer has a different process, but it's nice to have tips from other writers to adapt and add to our arsenal of shaping great stories!

Sarah Raplee said...

I re-plot, too. I like the method you described; think I'll try it next time! Thanks for an informative post.

Genene Valleau said...

Glad this was helpful. Re-plotting has also led me to a different way to format my series. Fun!