Chapter One Woes
My progress so far in novel writing using the 1st Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner (modified for procrastinators naturally) has been:
1. 2" 3-ring binder filled with sheets pertaining to Character, Settings, Plot Throughlines, Individual Scenes, Scene-by-Scene Timeline, a growing Things to Research list, Day-by-Day/Scenes-per-Chapter & POV Outline, a general High-Points Outline and a Detailed Outline. (Whew! Yeah I completed all those)
2. A second 2" 3-ring binder filled with print outs of Dramatica Pro reports about my novel. The reports detail the motivations and changes my Protagonist, Antagonist, and Impact Character exhibit throughout the course of the story; and the Plot and Theme elements of my story. (Sweet!)
At this point, Dramatic Pro is becoming tedious ~ even with the printouts. I’ve found the at-you-fingertips sheets suggested by the 1st Draft method to be a more workable system. Dramatica Pro is database compiled and driven. Both are easy to update and change since both reside inside the computer.
3. AND, thanks to the 1st Draft method, I now have a completed and polished Chapter 1. (Yipee! A real coup for me, given my proclivity of being easily distracted.)
Then Kay Patterson called me up to chat.
She congratulated me on my progress. (She’s working on her own novel and is a chapter or two a head of me. But unlike me, she’s just plain busy.) Anyhow, she then asks me how my Chapter 1 stats stack up. My what? Again she asks how my Readability and Pacing Scores match up to the desired scores of a first chapter with an Opening Hook. Again I’m speechless, struck utterly dumb (dumb as in stupid).
Of course, overseeing mother that she is, Kay explained and enlightened me.
My nice, completed and polished Chapter 1 fell way short of Hook Pacing and Readability Potential. UGH!
At least, Kay was kind enough to listen to me relate the specifics of my opening scenes. Then she graciously instructed me on how I could tweak my sentence structure and opening scenes to heighten the chapter’s Wow factor score. She also admonished me for not noting the nice little sticky-note bookmarks she had so sagely placed in the copy of The Writer’s Little Helper book by James V. Smith, Jr. she sent me two months ago. Bad me. Stupid me.
But now I’m enlightened, and after two evening of tweaking and review the stats, I’m back to having a completed and polished First Chapter ~ with good pacing and a hook!
Thanks Kay. Oh, and be sure to check out Kay’s Blog on AlienSkinMag.com for details on desirable Readability Scores and the Pacing of Scenes.