Illustration by Kim Rosen
My plotting adventure continues. I have now finished the plot summary for Tyubik (though I will go over it again before starting Draft 5), and have done 4/5 of the plot summary for Janna. After having summarized about 1/5 of the book the hair on my head started moving. I couldn't keep all the dates and the places and the characters straight to be able to summarize them correctly. How did I even write all this? I got online, dug around for help, and found that many writers do timelines. Well, I decided to make one too, a simple table with dates, places, and corresponding plot twists. It's halfway done now. In the middle of doing it I understood that there is danger in over-planning. All these summaries and charts and tables can get so complicated that I can spend months perfecting them and never get any writing done, or be so tired of the whole story idea by the time I'm done with plotting that the actual writing will be boring.
Where does this leave me? I'll have to find some kind of balance, I think. Do enough planning to get to know where I'm going and start writing. The only way I'll find this balance is by trial and error. This is scary shit, folks. I've already been writing Tyubik for over one year. I better finish it quickly, before I'll be tempted to shelve it altogether.
Another thing I'm learning is that the plot structure is different for different genres. I have begun writing my books without any genres in mind, blissfully ignoring them in favor of my art carrying me out of my messes. This is a typical approach of any novice, as I'm learning now. The ignorance that bites you in the ass later. It's the "I don't know that I don't know" stage of learning. I was like a rabid animal defending my right to create if anyone told me anything. Well, good job, Ksenia. You were wrong. They were right. It's a natural learning process. Now "I know that I don't know," that's where the hesitation with The Badlings came from. It's my story number 4, and yet it's the weakest. The energy burst from "OMG! I'm fucking writing books! I can do it!" has fizzled out, but the knowledge hasn't been acquired yet. Bingo. I suppose this is where many beginning writers quit. After the first splash of the first book and the cheering of the family, friends, and fools, that is, cheering strangers who are excited about your new beginning (not so much about your book), the following books for some reason fail to sell, and gradually you start feeling like you're not getting better, you're getting worse. Or you're not getting worse, but you're not growing, either. In other words, YOU'RE GETTING NOWHERE.