Author Journal 13th – 19th January 2022


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Last week I set out on the scary task of cementing (read: pulling hair out and glueing it back) the outline of Running the Asset after many mid-write changes.

Here’s how it went…

Review 6th to 12th January 2022

Oh, boy, digging around in an 80K+ word manuscript to note where you need to make changes is dirty work. Given my sub-genre of spies, it was more like wet work.

It all started well. Surprisingly well, to be honest; I blasted through the changes for Act I and got close to the end of Act II (a) before I hit a wall. The wall wasn’t a surprise; I knew it was waiting for me. It’s been there all the way through the planning sessions, but I knew that dealing with it would have enormous ramifications for the story’s midsection.

I’d tried to deal with it back then but kept stumbling over “stuff”. I say “stuff” because I couldn’t quite figure out what was causing the issues. So, I put it off, knowing that future Susan would deal with it. Yeah, thanks.

Future Susan, well Present Susan, to the rescue with a massive dose of help from way, way, Past Susan. Okay… Before delving into fiction writing, I studied feature film screenwriting at UCLA Extension’s Writer’s Program. I even have a certificate and a hat!

One of the best lessons I learned from screenwriting, and subsequently forgot over the years, was how to take a full-length movie and distil it into twenty-five words or less (a logline). If you can’t do that, your story is too big and sprawling–basically, it’s unfocused, incoherent, and generally unenjoyable for the viewer/reader.

So, I went back to the start and wrote the logline for the book. It all looked good. Then I had a wee bit of a lightbulb moment. Why not do the same with each act of the story (Acts I, II (a), II (b), III, and the denouement)?

Lo and behold, Act II (a) ‘s logline was forty-seven words long. I finally knew what was wrong, I’d shoehorned too much external plot (the spy bits) into that act, and it was having a knock-on effect on the next act.

With a bit of butchery and some expanding foam to cover over the cracks, I cut out the excess to reveal a svelte, focused, and fun Act II (a). That excess wasn’t bad stuff–the scenes are essential to the story–it was just in the wrong place. But, there was a perfect spot for them just after the internal plot (the romance) midpoint.

With the Act II (a) wall finally demolished, I cemented the changes to the outline!

TL;DR: Yes, I achieved my goal.

This Week’s Writing Goals

  • Revise the scene list for the whole story
  • Assign scenes/sequences to chapters–yip, I haven’t done this yet 😬
  • Apply lessons on Universal Fantasies from 7 Figure Fiction to the scene level 

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by, and take care.

Susan

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13 responses to “Author Journal 13th – 19th January 2022”

  1. Stefanie Neumann – Hamburg, Germany – The Art of Awareness – a bright light on the path of beingness. Basically I am… well… me! That contents: Dreamer. Visionary. Connector. Peacefounder. Adventurer. Teacher. Lerner. Artist. Embodied Spirit. … Born as a highly sensitive person and empath I am using these gifts to bring awareness into the world through authenticity. This comes with a natural, strong tendency for clarity. I am in love with creative expression, drawing my inspiration from a colourful, wide range of interests. People often describe me as open-hearted and friendly. What I learned from life on earth: You cannot think an experience. But you can thank for it. ************************************ Die Kunst der Gewahrsamkeit – ein helles Licht auf dem Pfad des Seins. Im Wesentlichen bin ich… nun ja… ich! Das beinhaltet: Träumerin. Visionärin. Vermittlerin. Friedensgründerin. Abenteurerin. Lehrerin. Lernende. Künstlerin. Verkörperter Geist… Als hochsensible Person und Empathin geboren, nutze ich diese Gaben, um Gewahrsamkeit durch Authentizität in die Welt zu bringen. Dies kommt mit einer natürlichen starken Neigung zur Klarheit. Ich bin in den kreativen Ausdruck verliebt, wobei ich meine Inspiration von einer bunten Palette an vielseitigen Interessen beziehe. Menschen beschreiben mich oft als offenherzig und freundlich. Was ich vom Leben auf der Erde gelernt habe: Man kann eine Erfahrung nicht denken. Doch man kann für sie danken.
    Stefanie Neumann says:

    Awesome that you could remember those lessons from screenwriting and thus finally figure out what blocked the flow of the plot, Susan! And also that you could incorporate the beloved bits and pieces that got cut out of one act in other parts of the story.

    Practising longlines is actually a very good exercise, not only for writing.
    I learned a similar technique, even for writing a business plan.
    Note to self: Need to keep life’s longlines in view.

    Wishing you a bunch of good flow for the work ahead!

    • Susan T. Braithwaite – Glasgow, Scotland – Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband, jezbraithwaite.blog, and our squirrel army.​
      Susan T. Braithwaite says:

      Thank you, Stefanie! I was sprauchlin for a wee bittie. It’s funny how you suddenly remember an old technique.
      I’d never thought of using loglines for business plans, or anywhere else for that matter. That’s a really good idea! I’ll keep that one in mind for the future. 🤗

  2. Susan T. Braithwaite – Glasgow, Scotland – Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband, jezbraithwaite.blog, and our squirrel army.​
    Susan T. Braithwaite says:
  3. bushboy – Landcare, photography, music, poetry (of sorts), cooking, our environment, life on the land and making a difference where I can. MotoGP is my "boy" fix.
    bushboy says:

    You must have been knee deep in the cuttings on the floor 🙂

    • Susan T. Braithwaite – Glasgow, Scotland – Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband, jezbraithwaite.blog, and our squirrel army.​
      Susan T. Braithwaite says:

      There’s blood… everywhere 🔪

      • bushboy – Landcare, photography, music, poetry (of sorts), cooking, our environment, life on the land and making a difference where I can. MotoGP is my "boy" fix.
        bushboy says:

        😂😂

    • Susan T. Braithwaite – Glasgow, Scotland – Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband, jezbraithwaite.blog, and our squirrel army.​
      Susan T. Braithwaite says:

      Thank you!

  4. Awesome! Bringing all your skills. I can’t wait to read your book.

    • Susan T. Braithwaite – Glasgow, Scotland – Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband, jezbraithwaite.blog, and our squirrel army.​
      Susan T. Braithwaite says:

      Oh, thank you, Chris!

    • Susan T. Braithwaite – Glasgow, Scotland – Royal Navy veteran from Scotland. My journey into writing started with a screenwriting certificate program at UCLA Ext. Since then, I've worked as a freelance content writer, erotica author, proofreader, professional beta reader, and content editor. I'm now working hard on my dream writing career: romantic suspense author. When I'm not writing, I can be found drinking too much coffee, obsessing over yarn, and planning world domination with my husband, jezbraithwaite.blog, and our squirrel army.​
      Susan T. Braithwaite says:

      Thank you!

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