Wednesday, June 20, 2012


In writing, setbacks aren't always a bad thing.  Especially when those setbacks create opportunities or teach some kind of lesson.

Yesterday, while working on my outline, I realized that one of the plots in this book isn't playing a big part in the story.  In fact, it's making me focus on something other than the characters and their arcs, so it's getting in the way of the story.  I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I created a game and a league for this universe, and the two protagonists are competitors in this league.  But in this setting the nation is in the middle of a political transition (the monarch is helping to transition the system from a monarchical government to a democratic republic).  But some of the inhabitants (mostly non-human races) have a problem with the way the new government is structured.

That doesn't really seem like the type of plot that deserves a lot of attention in a YA Fantasy that focuses on a brand new league that was invented to boost national moral, does it?  You see, I'm trying to suck my characters into a political plot, when they have their own problems to deal with.  I'm not sure how I'm going to change my outline, but this setback reminds me why I write outlines!

I've mentioned before (though I can't remember where) that outlines are a great place to hit these setbacks.  All I have to do right now is rewrite a page-worth of paragraphs rather than two or three (or five or ten) chapters!

More than that, it's making me re-examine the overall structure of my plot, my characters and their motivations, and where I want to go with this book.  It's keeping me invested.

How about you?  Have you encountered setbacks lately that you found helpful despite their annoying tendency to ruin your schedule?

1 comment:

  1. I ran into an "opening" setback. Meaning, I didn't establish enough time in the ordinary world before all hell was set loose on my MC, so the stakes weren't very high. Now that I've re-examined my beginning, the stakes are higher and the conflict is more conflicted.

    I don't outline, per se, but I did start writing a freewrite summary of my book. I keep getting hung up on the same part, though, which tells me something isn't working. Good to know that NOW rather than x number of fully written chapters later!!!