My good friend Nikki wrote a post on BEING BOLD in your writing today over at The Writer Diaries. This post correlates with Veronica Roth's most recent published book, ALLEGIANT. Just FYI, if you read the post, THERE ARE spoilers, but I won't spoil anything over here. But I WILL say, Veronica Roth was VERY BOLD in how she ended the series. And there have been a lot of people giving her crap about it all over the internet. But SHE'S THE WRITER. Therefore, she gets to do whatever she wants with HER story.
Nikki and I have been gushing about Allegiant since we finished reading it. And when Nikki told me she was going to write a post on being bold, it made me think. Am I bold in MY WRITING? A year ago, the answer to that question would have been a NO written in the sky by an airplane. I didn't take chances or risks. I stuck to the rules.
Almost a year ago, I finished writing my first YA fantasy novel, something I thought was groundbreaking and just all around AMAZING. And while I loved the book, agents didn't. And it puzzled me. But a couple months after I got a handful of rejections on the full manuscript (see the query made it sound MUCH better than it actually was), I decided to reread it and see what was missing. And I realized EVERYTHING was missing. It had an interesting story. It wasn't about a "chosen one" or the farm boy who realizes he's really the king's long lost son and the one meant to save the world. But it lacked conflict and the stakes weren't high enough. And it ended on a pretty big cliff hanger.
About three months ago I decided to revise it. I changed SO MUCH about the plot, and I felt good about it, but every time I sat down to write, the words just wouldn't come. Yes, in my head it was a totally different story. But in the Scrivener file, nothing had changed. And I found myself avoiding my computer because I didn't know what to write.
So fast forward to about three weeks ago. I watched the premiere of CW's new show, REIGN. I don't expect much from the CW, but I enjoy a few of their shows. And let me just tell you, I was blown away by the REIGN premiere. Nothing about the acting or the story was particularly fabulous, but it seemed to light a fire under my butt in my own writing.
So I came up with this incredibly GRANDIOSE idea. I'm talking, GAME CHANGING idea on how to make my fantasy better. Not just better, amazing. No, BOLD. I'm not ready to share it just yet. I'm still feeling a bit protective over it, because I've never been struck by SUCH GENIUS in m life. But this idea has absolutely changed my writing life. I've written four books in the last year and a half, all of them I pantsed my way through.
I DON'T PLOT. And by that, I mean I don't plot. Like maybe a sentence summary here or there, but I mostly soar by the seat of my pants and rely mostly on my memory. But I've spent 22 days plotting this book. I've written on over 500 post-its (which are now covering my walls). I have a character web on one wall (I've never done of those before). And I have a 69-chapter timeline on one wall and it LITERALLY took me nearly eight straight hours to do that. I was fairly certain my brain might explode. And last night, I scaled a map for over four hours, figuring out how long it might take my characters to get from one city to another in my made up world.
I could have spent those 22 days writing. I mean, I've written 10k, so it's not been a total waste, but I just don't spend time plotting. But it's changing EVERYTHING about my story. AND I LOVE IT. This is SO different from anything I've ever written. It's so different from anything I've read. And I'm basically in a state of euphoria over this, even though it is stretching my brain TO THE MAX.
But, here's the thing, I'M BEING BOLD, and I really think it's going to pay off. I mean, I can't say that for sure, but I *do* know that when I put my confidence one hundred percent into a BOLD writing piece, I just know it won't fail.