Things I Learned While Writing Miasma Part II

Published December 20, 2011 by Linda Maye Adams

Writing Miasma turned into a huge learning experience.  There are some things I am changing for my next story.  Some of them are small, and some quite significant.  These are the truly vexing issues I wrestled with on Miasma:

Beginnings:  If a writer picks up a craft book, the one common piece of advice in every one of them is that we all tend to start our stories too early.  From the earliest time on, I read things like, “Cut the first 50 pages to find your beginning” and “Start with the story.”  Where other people started 10K ahead of where they were supposed to be, I started 30K+ after where I was supposed to start.  Setup came into the story anyway — forced its way really — and crowded other things like themes and subplots out.  When I was going through the revision, I even found setup at the end of the story.  I discovered that I have a really hard time figuring out where the story should start, and that’s the one thing I need to pay the most attention to.

The second vexing item turned out to be structure.  That’s not a topic we find much in craft books.  There’s a few that discuss it — one preached about outlines to get structure and was condescending to non-outliners, and another focused more on the detail level, which is one of my weaknesses.  After much searching, I finally found something that clicked for me, and it was patterns.  I just needed to know what the pattern was of the structure, and I could rearrange scenes to make them fit the pattern and add related scenes (yes, I write weird!).

Next up will things I’m going to do differently on the next project.

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