There are few people in my life that are supportive of my writing in a way that makes me feel accomplished. One of them is my best friend. I know I can talk to her about my story openly and she will tell me what sounds great, offer ideas or just listen. We were talking about a point in the story and before I knew it I had given her the entire story (in random order). When I realized I'd told her the entire thing, I stopped to think how I felt about throwing my carefully hidden plot into the air. Typically when I give up my ideas, I don't want them anymore and giving up my whole novel could have been tragic. But since I wasn't telling just anyone about my story, I actually felt more excited about completing the process.
I am still super excited to have written this story. Ok, so it's not quite as full as it needs to be and I think I left a rant towards the end about how much I hate the end. However, it's still a complete story. What would have taken me years of writing a little at a time is done. Now what?
Some time ago I bought "Power Structure" to help me with my writing. The program allows you to break your story down into something more than an outline. You can break it down by chapters, plot points, characters, settings, etc... The program lets you get into your story and flesh out what's important and not so important.
I used it last year to help me bring my thoughts together but could only get as far as a few chapters. My story kept changing which meant I had to go back and change other areas in the structure. I felt like I was spending too much time in the program and not enough time writing, so I abandoned it.
Now that my story is written, I'm about to start with Power Structure again. I'm hoping the restraint I felt while trying to use the program and actually write the story won't feel so limiting during editing. My hope is the program will help me find weak points in the already written novel and areas that need more development. I'll let you know how that goes.
On another note, I've changed the title of the novel. About 15 years ago someone gave me a piece of paper with a map of the US on each side. One side displayed a point for every optimistically named city and the other side displayed a point for every pessimistically named city (you can find that here). I live in Virginia so naturally Bleak, Virginia stood out on the map. I've always wanted to go there, but haven't. From the looks of it on Google Maps, I would have to drive about two hours North to ride through a town that's about 10 minutes long. Wanna go with me?
Anyway, it just happens this town has become a part of my story without even trying. Not only has the town invaded my story, but my novel is now aptly titled "Bleak".