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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Perils of Plotting

Those brave souls out there who took a chance with my first novel, Hold My Heart and went onto Break My Heart, I thank you.

I thank you because as you know, my debut novel is not for those faint of heart. It's complex, different, well, let's just say it -- not your average romance. Hold My Heart is not only outside the box; Hold My Heart packed its bags and moved all the way across town away from the box. It's a unique ride promising to bring anything along and the reader has to be willing to risk one hell of a ride.

As you wait patiently for the final installment, I struggle everyday to find a system in which to contain the complicated timeline of my story. I visit many social media groups and watch as successful writers are able to tame their stories into neat spreadsheets, folders, and other orderly, no-nonsense logical formats.

Then there's me.

Notes upon notes of possible outcomes for each scene; ten different twist and turns in order to reach the finish line, reading, re-reading, researching, and rewriting until I reach an inkling of satisfaction that each part of the story is the best it could possibly be.

And still, after publishing, I read my work, frowning at certain parts. I can't help wonder if I didn't give it my all. Maybe if I'd taken a little longer, played with it would be better.

My strive for perfection is my undoing.

It consumes me and like my thoughts, my plotting notes are a collection of notebooks with ramblings, questions I pose as I go, and notes from years of countless research.  Time Travel requires knowledge of the time period, the social climate of the time, politics, history, physics, weather, chronology, locations, and much more. 

Some days I tell myself had I written a sweet, contemporary standalone for my first book, it would have been less research, right? Maybe it would have been less chaotic to keep track of, instead of dealing a with a timeline and characters spanning eighty years.

But I know the answer: Because when I set to do something, I either go big, or go home.

So, here I am, reflecting on what I've learned and what I've yet to learn. I want to master the ability to plot and set firmly the course of a story as easy as entering a destination on the GPS. But it's not that easy, is it?

Nothing worth doing is easy.

For now, I'll content myself with the knowledge that there are fellow writers out there who have mastered the plotting beast, and won.


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