Just the Way You Are – Release Party. 7

April 18, 2015

Notes 1

Keeping track of all the elements of a story and the character growth can be a challenging task. Short stories are relatively easy—you just need to include the eight elements of short story development and everything falls into place. Because I’m working with a finite number of words, it’s not impossible to keep everything in my head for the duration of writing.

Novels are more complicated. By instinct, I’m a pantser. I write to find out what happens in the story. If I already know, I lose interest and stop writing. It’s taken me years to find the exact point in a plot where I say “I know too much now” and stop plotting at that point.

I’ve started using the three-act structure, modified to suit my personality. It’s like a recipe. I think the only recipe I’ve followed precisely from beginning to end is a sponge cake. They’re not very forgiving in terms of balance between fats, carbs and liquids. Nearly everything else comfortably accepts substitutions and mistakes. The first time I looked at the three-act structure I thought it was like a sponge cake and that would be too much effort.

Notes 2

I put it aside for a long time and only revisited it when I hit a glitch in the structure of Just the Way You Are. Even then I didn’t intend to

I’ve since played with it a bit and worked out exactly which sections can be substituted with something else of left out entirely without bringing the story down like a poorly balanced pack of cards.use it for this book. I created a scene map first so I could analyse the balance of character development and the plot development. As I made more and more changes to the original scene structures, I realised I needed something overarching, that would keep the novel together while I worked on individual scenes. That’s when I pulled out the three-act structure again and started playing with it. I didn’t use in formally while writing Just the Way You Are but it was certainly in my mind while I was writing, and particularly while editing.


I’ve included some images from my editing notes on Just the Way You Are. You might notice in some of them that the point of view character is different to the final copy. You might also notice that Tahlia didn’t exist at that stage. She was a combination of Thelma and Julia.

Notes 3I’m a big list-maker in my real life as well. If there’s no list of things to do for the day, I often achieve nothing. I learned a long time ago that, even if it’s not my nature to be organised, I need to be if I expect to get anything done in my life. Without the lists, I’d spend all day every day reading.

How organised are you? Do you make lists to keep you on track? Are you naturally organised or do you have to work at keep track of what needs to be done?  Are you proactive or reactive?

Find Just the Way You Are at: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6274

13 Responses to “Just the Way You Are – Release Party. 7”

  1. eemontgomery says:

    I can’t believe the time already. I only have another hour here with you. Two more posts, and I’ll announce the winners of both giveaways.

  2. Angela says:

    It’s always nice to read more about the how and why of an authors writing. I myself am not always organised, i’m not a list person (except for groceries) but i do like to write the important things on my calender.

  3. Denise Dechene says:

    Not organized at all. I don’t make list of what to do. Only list I make is shopping so I don’t forget to get something. TO be truthful I can be a little lazy. I guess I’m reactive.

  4. Susan says:

    I’m an organized person, but tend to keep my lists in my head. If there’s something I might forget, I write a sticky note or memo on my laptop. I tend to be proactive as much as possible.

  5. eemontgomery says:

    I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I’m never sure how much to share: to me it’s all fascinating but I’m aware other people won’t be so enamoured of my activities. ;)

    I admire people who don’t have to write everything down. I’d never make it to meetings or appointments if I didn’t have everything on my calendar. I’m fanatical about keeping back-ups–except when I’m not. Then it becomes scary because that’s always when my computer dies or my phone breaks.

  6. eemontgomery says:

    Denise: I’m almost hyperventilating reading that you never makes lists of things to do. Sometimes I can do that, but when I’m busy (which is most of the time) I NEED my lists.

    Susan: How do you remember your lists? Do you use Mnemonics or some other method of remembering, or are you THAT good? I’m asking because my memory is appalling and I’d love some tips.

  7. eemontgomery says:

    Denise: Nope. I’ve just re-read your post and it’s still making me uncomfortable. ;) No lists at all? Really?

  8. Denise dechene says:

    Just the shopping list. Lol. If it makes you more comfortable my youngest makes lists She’s a little OCD drives me batty at times. Of course she’s in her 20′s so I don’t deal with much anymore.

  9. eemontgomery says:

    When my daughter was 11 she told me I didn’t wash the clothes the right way, then proceeded to give detailed instructions of the things I had to be careful with. I very calmly showed her how to use the washing machine and she’s done her own ever since. A similar thing happened with the vacuum cleaner when she was 12. I haven’t used a vacuum cleaner since. I suspect she’s going to have to relax her standards a little once the baby arrives. That’ll be fun to watch! (I’m a good mother, really.)

  10. Denise dechene says:

    Even though she’s in her 20′s when she visits he always finds something to rearrange because it’s not how she thinks it needs to be. I just laugh

  11. eemontgomery says:

    Denise: Do you have specific things you move out of place, just so she has something to fix? You know, like all good mothers should help their children (and mess with their heads) ;) I can’t do that with my daughter anymore – she caught onto what I was doing. That was an interesting conversation!

  12. Denise dechene says:

    I’ll never tell

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