Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Making a Story Cohesive

Those of you who know me know I am much more of a pantster than a plotter. On occasion, I've been known to jot down brief notes and even a rough outline before starting a book, but for the most part an idea hits, I sit down at the keyboard, and I fly by the seat of my pants.

That's how my WIP ("One Great Night") has been going. I had an idea for a story. I wrote chapter one and a bit more, and then I started jumping around. I'm about 100 pages in, but by no means have I started on page one and continued on to page 100. I am all over the place with this story. I've written part of the ending as well as various scenes in the middle.

Am I making progress? Yes.

However, while the scenes are getting written, in some ways they are almost stand-alone 'episodes' in a tv drama or sitcom. Do they all relate to the story? Yes. Do they follow the same characters in basically the same setting? Yes. Do they all have the same theme and feel? Yes.

The part that seems to be missing is the cohesion to make this a complete story with character arcs and an ending that has been built to throughout the story.

Am I worried? No.

This is how I write. And although the story is far from finished, it's at this point that I need to sit down and do a read-through and decide where these scenes are actually going to fit into the storyline as a whole. What kind of changes (emotionally/internally) should my characters go through in each scene in order for their arcs/growth to make sense? I've written the scenes in what I think is chronological order for the story, but does that need to be changed?

It's at this point that I need to do some planning to figure out key shifts in the story: when they should happen, how they should happen. I need to figure out where I have plot holes and character development holes and fill them in...or at least make a plan to fill them in. *gasp* That's a lot of planning for a pantster.

But it's also part of being a writer. It's not just about getting words down on the page, although of course that's important too, but it's about having a story and characters that grow from beginning to end in a cohesive manner to give your readers a satisfying story.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. So good to know I'm not alone. I love your creative process.

  2. Thank God for computers! It's so wonderful to be able to move passages around to where they fit better. Still, it can be confusing. Often, when I feel the urge to move something, I stick it at the end of the document first, then erase it from its prior spot. After that, I grab it from the end and stick it where I believe it should belong. It's always good to keep the old copy under a different name, of course. No matter how careful you can be, something could still get lost in the process.

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Margot...I am totally all over the place, but whatever works, right?!

    Morgan...I can't even imagine writing before computers. I'm known to scribble with pen and paper if an idea comes to me and I'm not near my 'puter, but to write an entire novel and then type it up...wowsers.