|Image courtesy of Gracey at Morguefile.com|
I used to have no problem writing. Back in 2003, when I began to take writing seriously, I would write every single day, often for two or three hours at a time. I loved it. I got stories written. I started writing something that meant a lot to me and enjoyed what was happening in each session. It was relatively easy.
It's not that easy any more. There are a number of factors that have probably led to this - being a mother (which is the BEST job in the whole wide world even while it's demanding); lack of sleep; not as much down-time as I'd like (or need) - you know, the time to just switch the brain off; something I'm calling highstandardanxietyitis; tying myself in knots with everything I've learned about structure and arcs and plots and plots points; needing to adjust to all the life changes and find a new writing process that works with how my life looks now.
With this in the back of my mind, I read with GREAT interest this post on Jodi Henley's blog. (And if you are looking for information on character arc, then she is your go-to person!)
Like Jodi, I also enjoy character-driven stories (it's my preference, in fact), but it somehow escaped me that it might be a good idea to start my pre-planning with the character arc and not the external plot. I know the ins and outs of the main plot points in the external arc, but after reading the post I can see that the external arc is the means by which the character changes and so it doesn't make sense (in a character-driven story, anyway) to plot the external arc first. Knowing where my character is at the start of the story and, even more importantly, at the end of the story and then filling in the gaps in between with ideas for story events that might cause the character to change is what will help me to put the external plot together. So character arc first, plot arc second. :)
With that in mind I did a bit more research looking for articles on plotting character arcs, the stages of change and anything else that could possibly help me to plot the internal character arc.
These are the most helpful resources I found:
- Kathy Carmichael's Short Synopsis (in pdf format)
- Stages of Change model at Timlebon.com
- The Stages of a Character Arc by Jason Black
- Five Stages of a Character Arc according to Hauge at Holly Bodger's site
- Advanced Plotting: Character Arc - Chapter 1 at paperdemon.com
1. Meditate before each writing session
2. Work on my novel for at least 15 minutes each day
- Working through the characters' arcs is my focus for the coming week
3. Check in with ROW80 and leave comments on at least 5 other ROW80 blogs
4. Create a new habit of getting to bed by 11pm at the latest every night
(I'm doing pretty well with this one, and it's making a huge difference to my energy levels and mood.)
5. Find a way to have some down-time each day
6. Practice one technique a week from "Just One Thing" by Rick Hanson
(The first technique has been going well, so I'm moving onto a second one as of today.)
In other news, I'm still reading through Jodi's "Practical Emotional Structure" and Buffy Greentree's "Five Day Writer's Retreat" as well as Dara Marks's "Inside Story" and they are ALL helping me stay motivated. Yay.
I wish all my fellow ROWers the very best with their goals for the next week. :)