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What a mess.


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One of the greatest criticisms of my first book I SPIDER is that it’s a bit ‘all over the place’. I think it actually enhances the story because the story is written as the ramblings of a mad man.
Unfortunately, my second book is shaping up to be just as ‘all over the place’ and is structurally a lot more complicated. I’m about 40,000 words in and after vomiting all of my initial thoughts out it’s time to try and create some structure.
It’s a fairly simple structure, I have a Protagonist and an Antagonist and I see their stories running simultaneously (a chapter of the good guy then a chapter of the bad guy). Using this method I will probably compare their lives; good guy looks after mother when she’s sick, bad guy kills mother with a tyre iron.
But then the whole thing starts to get complicated. I have a character that disappears from the book about half way through and then reappears in the climax or the third act. So in the middle of the crescendo and while I’ve got the reader dying to find out what happens next I’m going to tell a whole bunch of back story about what the character that disappeared has been up to.
Even this would be pretty easy if I had written the book chronologically, but I have this terrible habit of putting a character in a situation, lets say a cabin, and while they are in the cabin I tell part of the back story of the cabin. So even the bits that I’m chopping up are in bits.
Above is a photo of the book cut into chapters, a Protagonist pile and an Antagonist pile. Also there’s a photo of two sets of cards each one representing a chapter in the book. I’m going to change the order of the chapters and then I’ll start filling in the holes in the story.
Wish me luck.
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About ispiderbook

Anthony is a first time novelist who is based in Sydney Australia.

12 responses to “What a mess.

  1. Good luck! (But I don’t think you’ll need it!)

  2. Looks complicated but sounds like you understand it 🙂

  3. I wouldn’t have said I Spider was all over the place (but then I really liked “Vanilla Sky” and “Beloved”, so maybe that’s just my taste 🙂 ) Anyhow, I didn’t find it hard to follow or overly rambling. Your post-its & cards are a good idea; is that how you generally work?

    • Thanks Luddy’s!

      I’m not sure if the pin board has helped much.

      I SPIDER was just a bunch of short stories so I just shuffled them. When I’ve written screenplays I’ve always created a computer chart, once I had about 3/4 so that I could see where I needed to fill in holes.

      This one’s tough because it’s got two stories running parallel. I really should keep them both chronological but much of the time I find that when you want to tell a story It’s got more impact starting with the result.

      I was going to have a character disappear early in the book and then reappear right at the end, but she’s got too much back story so I’m not sure what to do with her.

  4. I Spider is well organized for a dysfunctional mind. You kept it absolutely consistent with the character telling the story.

  5. inés

    Sounds pretty awesome… and challenging!!! 😉

  6. Pingback: King of the pocrasti-NATION | i spider

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