A friend asked me recently how far along I am in my story. I told her the same thing I’ve been telling others. I figure it’s going to take me a good year to get to a passable draft.
Then she asked me how much of the story I know. I told her I know the whole story. I know how it starts, how it ends and pretty much of what happens in the middle.
I don’t know everything about all my characters. I don’t know where everyone came from, what their family is like or even how all of them look. I know how some of them talk, but some I don’t, yet. If they have back stories worth exploring, I haven’t identified them right now.
I’m not sure where all the different parts of the story take place. Some settings I have figured out and some I haven’t. I’ve spent a lot of time on Goggle Maps and Wikipedia researching possibilities.
I’ll need to add some more challenges for my characters to overcome, but, at this point, I’m not sure what they are. Subplots need to be added. I spend a lot of time studying and refining the narrative arc to make sure the story stays interesting enough to engage a reader and then keep them engaged. There will need to be high points, low points and time to rest built into the flow of the story.
After our conversation (thanks, Nan), I figured out how to describe my progress. Right now, my story is like a freshly cut Christmas tree. It’d been chosen and claimed and is standing, bare naked, in my world. Now it needs lights, all our special ornaments and a star at the top to be the best Christmas tree I know it can be.
Have I mentioned how particular I am decorating our Christmas tree? It’s going to take some time.
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