Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I try the plotting thing // Spoiler: I fail

When I started writing the Oddball trilogy, I just started. I didn't even know it was going to turn into a trilogy. It was supposed to be this innocent little stand-alone. A fun project.

Now it's AGONY!

I feel agony because Chris Pine and William Magnussen are famous and older and just out of reach

I am mildly kidding.

The point though is that I was purely pantsing. The only character I had was Oddball. After writing got the gears moving, I could plan ahead. But not much. 

I usually write through things. (It is a very plausible way to deal with life. . .). I also write myself into corners. *cough* 

So when I started writing Oddball the Sequel, I wanted to know what I was doing. 
Except. . . I didn't. 

How do you sequel? I had no idea (still don't, if you must ask).

So I decided to try the plotting thing. I would teach myself how. Not my most brilliant moment. But now I have a plot wall. Because it's fun, okay?

The colors originally were supposed to mean. . . something. But then I ran out of certain colors and with that all pretenses of organization went out the window.

Honestly, I was pantsing as I was plotting. I came up with things on the spur of the moment, made snap decisions and a lot of up-in-the-air undecisions. I'm not sure it matters much though. Sometimes I can't even read my own writing. 

Even after the plot wall went up, I kept forgetting names of side characters. Most of them are unexpected characters. Which means I come up with their names on the spot. Which means I am apt to forget their names in 0.3 seconds. 

All the time. Sorry, world.:

There are a couple of scientist who I refer to as "one of the scientists," "the one that Rocky lifted off the ground," and "that guy Oddball didn't take a liking to." 

There's also a handful of Shamdram soldiers known as "the leader," "the talkative one," and "the one who didn't get his dinner" (yeah, he was not happy about that).

So I recently made a list of minor characters to add to the plot wall.

Even with a plot, I still write myself into corners. But that's okay. I rather like having a puzzle that I have to write my way out of (and if I don't have one, I won't write for a month).

For instance, how do you keep a band of soldiers from their patriotic life-long duty without taking their weapons from them in broad daylight?

I'm hoping the answer is "distract them by setting a wildfire." 

The other day though. I realized that 

1) My document is 90,000+ words. Although, some of those words are brainstorming, and some scenes may need to relocated to the last book. Still, that's lot since:

2) I'm only a third of the way through.

3) Something seems off with my timeline. It sounded great for the two years I've been planning this thing. But now:

4) This

needs to be switched with this

And this

should probably never happen.

5) My "that one scene" has now been rescheduled with a new location, and I am thoroughly confused. 

 At the moment, my WIP and I are at some sort of stalemate. 


So how goes your WIP? Do you have a plot wall? Do you ever write yourself into corners?


  1. My WIP isn't going. I keep thinking I have an idea but when I say it out loud it sounds all mumbo jumbo. I can't believe you managed to come up an entire, that's like (I hate this word in this context but I have to use it now) goals Ashley.

    Good luck on your WIP and may the force be with you. (or something like that)


    1. I know what you mean. Sometimes I think about my story as a whole and think, "Who in the world will think this is a good idea? I must be insane or something." BUT just keep at it. Write it all. Something good will come out of it!

      AGH! No, do not say that word. Noor, what are you doing to me? Goals, gah. You are right though.

      Haha! Thanks. You too. ;)

  2. 'This tip needs coffee' ha ha, I get that. Mine has hit a lot of snags, I don't even have post its. Basically mine is going nowhere fast.

    1. I hope the snags smoothen out soon. DON'T EVER DREAM OF GIVING UP ON IT! Because you have amazing stories. And your characters! Ah! Your characters are all such beautiful messes.

  3. I ALWAYS write myself into corners! My mum regularly tells me to plan but i just can't! I'm going to try your plot wall though, it looks like a good idea! Good luck!
    Rose :3

    1. Ah, I do too! The plot wall is fun, it at least helps me remember the major points in my story.

      I think the best part is the funny look people give you when they walk in your room. XD

  4. Ah yes, this stage. I pansted a trilogy once, and yeah, that was...interesting. Good luck on your plotting/rearranging/shenanigans. :P

    *unhinged laughing* I can never plot for the life of me. I try. But then I snap. Like, "Hey Liz, why are you hiding in the closet drinking coffee and stroking your books?" And I'll be like, "Shh, I'm plotting."

    1. Eh, yes. That is proving to be a challenge. . .

      Haha! Yes! Plotting is puzzle I can never crack.

  5. "And THIS...should probably never happen." LOL the best. XD XD I'm not writing anything currently. I have a plot notebook, or a plot word doc, but a plot wall might be more beneficial to me. I like being able to see everything at once, and not have to flip pages or scroll. X) I write myself into corners ALL THE TIME. I usually solve it with a pointless rant/sidequest, and then get back to the main story and think "I'll have to edit that out later." XD

    1. ALSO SPOILERS HAHA LIKE YOUR TITLE I have a post going up on Saturday for your Starting Sparks linkup and I say this because I won't be around to link up in the linkup until Sunday night so I didn't want you to see the post and be like hey why didn't you link up and I wouldn't even be around to answer and yes it is one in the morning why do you ask? Although that's not terribly late by writers' standards . . . carry on.

    2. Yes! I love to see everything at the same time. It helps way more. (Plus, I get to feel a bit like BBC Sherlock with his suspect wall. . .).

      Oh cool! I'm glad you're not-linking-up but unofficially yeah-linking-up. ;) I can't wait to read your post!

      Ha! Yeah, 1am is like prime writing time (if we can stay awake O_O).

  6. Oh wow, your plot wall is intense. Plus 90K words of planning is so intense! And I totally name my side characters like that too! I can't come up with names ever, so most of them are unnamed until I have to send them off to betas :P Love your Into the Woods gif!

    1. Thanks. Yeah, my first draft is getting a bit huge. Ah! I know, the side characters' names just seem so, so trivial in the moment.
      Thanks! :)

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  8. LOL I am so sorry Ashley - what I wrote before didn't make any sense because I have so many tabs open with blogs I've been meaning to write comments on for ages. Gahhh sorry!

    I've been meaning to write a comment on your blog.
    I laughed so hard when you said Oddball was supposed to be a fun project. So many of my projects that were meant to be lighthearted became this serious thing. I have no idea how you 'sequel'; I'm dreading it for my own WIP. The beginning is always the most fun part. =D I really enjoyed reading about your process writing, and mine has been similar. I've written a LOT of words for my WIP but I'm not even 2/3rds of the way through =/ I hope your plotting goes well =]

    1. It's cool. I've done that too. ;)

      Haha! I know! What is with all these tame little books becoming major works? The beginning can be fairly fun. I always feeling like I'm wading into the great unknown whenever I begin a new book. Spontaneous and uncertain.

      Yes, the lots of words. . . I'll definitely have to do a lot of editing. But I suppose a lot of words are better than no words, right?

  9. I PLOT ON THE WALL !! I DO ! I DO! And I admit, I do it 99% of the time because it makes me feel like Sherlock. My book is a case. Here is my spiderweb of case solving. Mwahhaha. *coughs awkwardly* ANYWAY. I'm big on plotting. I almost always have a book entirely sorted out in my head before I start writing, so that's how I write my books so fast. XD But seriously, I just lie down for a while and envision scenes like movies? And then I write them down and BOOM. Plot. Sometimes I deviate though? Sometimes I realise I have too much plot but i'm bored of I axe scenes. HOW BAD IS THAT. XD Ahem.

    But good luck with this!! And already 90K?!? Omg, that is going to be a MASSIVE a book!! :')

    1. YES! It is very Sherlock-like. I think, that's what I like about it. And it's just plain fun.

      See, that's why I wanted to try to plot. So I could write faster. Yeah. Did not work out for me. But aw, well.

      AH! Yes, those scenes that you can just see happening right before your eyes, and then you want to write it exactly the way you see it. And then a whole story starts revolving around it. Love those moments!

      I suppose that's not so bad though. Axing scenes. I'm probably going to be axing scenes in the edit process ('cause, seriously who's going to read a book that thick, I don't even like big books). It seems an inevitable thing. You just cut to the chase. ;)

  10. "Do you ever write yourself into corners?" HECK YES I DO. Hahaha you are not alone my friend!

    I am going to start third drafting next week and after that it should be a matter of months before I begin to sequel ... and no, I have no clue how one sequels. I have lots of amusing snippets of dialogue in my head and much romantic angst but not so much, uh, what do they call it? Plot ...

    I guess the truth is that we've been scrutinising, loving and living these books for a really long time (2.5 years in my case, even longer in yours), and that means, undoubtedly, a loss of perspective. You get to a point where you just can't tell if your plot's good because you know it so darn well and you can't tell how something's paced because hey, you wrote it.

    Which is why you need to send it to a loving friend ASAP. ~wiggles eyebrows~

    PS 90 000+ and a third of the way through?! Heck!

    1. It seems to be a never-ending fault. But when else will we get to practice being an escape artist?

      CONGRATS! That's so awesome! But yes, that's usually how my sequels exist, on dialogue alone.

      I agree. We're just way too close to the whole thing. I always wonder if it even makes sense anymore. But I guess the only thing to do is to finish it so that someone else can look at it and tell me. XD

      Haha! Yes, it seems I do.

      But you do not want to read all 90K + of those words. I'll edit first, don't worry!


      Yes but man cannot live on dialogue alone!!!

      OK! TCATT has swollen in word count like Violet Beauregarde post chewing gum ... but don't worry we shall viciously scythe them back

      loving mothers that we are


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