Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Flying Phoenixes Flutter and Flounder

I’m late. I’m sorry. Moving on... *grins*

Last month I mentioned I was working on reading though my Videra Phoenixes. When I started, I was worried because reading and taking notes on Book 1 was arduous. But once I was past that relic, the reading speed up (as note taking slowed down). Yes, this once trilogy clearly shows that with practice, even sans reading craft books, my writing has improved.  
Now that I’ve gotten through all 890 or so pages, I’m transcribing my notes into word so I can put them all in their proper categories (I color coded them as I took them) to figure out how to turn this massive story into books, that maybe, people might like to read.
Yes, the characters started commenting after a certain point...
One of the first things I’ve figured out is that there are really about five books in what I originally wrote as a Trilogy:
  • Book 1: Sarah’s Phoenix, needs the most work (written in 2005, edited in 2009, yup a relic)
  • Book 2: Phoenix Rising, more a romantic interlude than anything and I find its plot puzzling
  • Book 3: Phoenix Burning (was second half of Phoenix Rising), the plot definitely works
  • Book 4: Phoenix Triumphant, again a good solid plot
  • Book 5: Phoenix United (was third, third of Phoenix Triumphant), seems to be mostly romance with a euphoric ending (well it gave me a permasmile)

Now, I’m going through the joy of figuring out where Book 1 ends and Book 2 begins, because I’ve decided that I’m rewriting Book 1 for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo (my goal is at least 25,000 words to keep the stress and lack of sleep minimal). But how do I revamp the plot of Sarah’s Phoenix without having to rewrite everything?

It’s tough. When I was first reading it, I had a brilliant idea, which slowly got squished as I read the other books realizing just how important the set up in Book 1 and 2 were. So I’m trying my hand at plotting, but I’m not going to do it chapter by chapter. Unearthing Magic taught me that that method doesn’t quite work for me. Instead I’m trying a five point plot – Intro, Call to Action, Midpoint, Climax and Resolution.

Not working so well. At least it’s not feeling like it is. I could be over complicating the issue. I’m really good at that. But the plot is pretty complex, because you’ve got the political backdrop to the romance, acting as the main obstacle keeping Sarah and Hasón from their ‘Happily Ever After’. My little private Facebook group (spawned from NaNo, how I love thee) has recommended I diagram each plot so I can see where how they merge.

Do I tackle the whole Book 1 through 5 plot, or do I do it book by book? And how many plots do I have... I know my two main ones, but what about the characters? Are their character arcs another plot... Or am I, as I said, making this way more complex than it needs to be? *HELP*

I also just realized I’m turning... 36 (phew I thought it was 37, opps *grins*) in April, and I would like to have my first book published by 40. That means I only have four more years, and I figure at least the last two ought to be for the query process *gulp*

Better get to work, hadn’t I? I also better figure out what book I’d like to query first, because strangely, I’m wondering if it shouldn’t be Unearthing Magic as opposed to Sarah’s Phoenix. What do you think? How should I choose?


:} Cathryn Leigh


  1. Sounds complicated. Rewriting EVERYTHING isn't as bad as it initially seems, though, as you'll probably end up rewriting most of it whatever happens, won't you? As someone who has written the same book nine times with about six different combinations of plot, I can tell you this: sometimes rewriting is horrible, but sometimes it's awesome, and great fun.

    I read a plotting technique that is initially simple (Beginning, Middle, End), but actually fairly effective. Beginning will be the smallest section and has subheadings like "Something triggers the realisation that something needs to change" or something, and that'll lead onto the Middle, where you've got subheadings like "Characters make short term goals", "Obstacles prevent characters reaching short term goals", "Characters overcome obstacles and achieve goals", and then rolls around that 3-part structure again and again. So that might work as a way of plotting, possibly. I don't know...

    1. Yes, indeed you have quite the experience on rewriting a novel over and over again. I think I'm more nervous than anything else. the later books are so much better than the first, but even if I have to rewrite them due to the rewrite of book 1 they can only get better, right? *nervous look*

      Thanks for the plotting tip. I might have to try it - right after I get my Map set up - I need it for proper timing. he he he. :}

  2. Eeeeesh, I wish you luck! If I were you, I'd plot book by book, then write them one by one, so you have room for plot movement and fun twists and things.

    Some short-term goals and objectives for the characters, as well as the long-term endgame of the story, can help too. Particularly if they're flexible in how they can come about and / or help the story's progression.

    The fact that everyone started commenting entertains me massively, too.

    1. Goals, right, those things... I shoudl probably do that, but for now I must jot all these comments down so I can work on that later (though they will probably all come in handy in the editing of Unearthing Magic).

      I think you're right on the book to book plotting. I should let go of the later books, because if the story is meant to go that way it will. Or it might find better ways to do things! *grins*

      And yes - it all started when I wrote down the question of why Hason was happy that he was sending Sarah, the girl he loves and wants to marry, to the Scouting Trials... he told me he was Proud... I'm still not sure I understand... (Then Sharon gave me a long disertation on James and Sarah and what she thought of them) LOL.

      Character comments are awesome. It lets you know they truely are well developed. :}

  3. Yay, you've started posting here again! *late*

    1. Yes... and I owe you all an April post *blushes* :}