Right now, I am the victim of my own impatience. I wrote my WIP on the fly, with an ending for one character in mind, but no clear path to get there. When I'd finished, I polished the writing and made a lot of little tweaks, but it wasn't until a conversation with my husband that I realized my plot was like a splayed hand, with lots of storylines tapering out to their own resolutions, but without the nice tight wrap-up that makes a good story so satisfying. Gah.
You know when I should have realized this? When I was trying to write a practice query, even just a logline, and could not for the life of me boil this book down to one strong sentence. Also when I was thinking about the sequels I would like to write, and came up with: the characters will be evolving like this! The backstory will come out like this! And the plot will be...stuff!
Trying to find/create the cohesive theme after the fact has been my monster challenge of late. Here are some of tools and methods I've been using to try to sort out my tangled strings:
- Writing out the character arc for each major player in the book
- Writing essays in the first person from the POV of select characters
- Making graphs
- Studying history
- Writing pages and pages of stream-of-consciousness notes
- More graphs
- Opening spreadsheets and making notes in different cells, then color coding the cells
- Writing a huge timeline
I'm sure it sounds like an obsessive mess, but that's what helps me sort my thoughts, and when I figure out something that works, it feels like I've won the lottery. What tricks do you use when making plot revisions?