Sunday, May 6, 2012

Light layers... and a stiff drink.

First of all, let me begin this post by stating the obvious:
  I am still experimenting to find my most efficient writing system.  I have been writing for a long time, and have studied it for years... but I still feel like I can do better.  What I mean is... I still get way bogged down by all that story.

I have heard a lot of other writers talking about how they “write in layers”, and I thought that just wasn’t for me. I never was able to really do it.

I have been reading several different writer’s blogs over the last year, and they all do things a little bit differently… but the one thing that they all seem to agree on is layering… so, I’m finally giving it a try.

Wow.  Where to start?

When I thought of writing in layers, I thought that I would be layering the actual manuscript, (during the draft and composition phase), and that just seemed too confusing to keep all that straight. A novel is a HUGE undertaking, and to keep my notes and all the chapters straight is so overwhelming that more days than not, I’m a tiny bit frazzled. (hence my obsession with organizing.  Some days, it felt like all I could do was shuffle things around!)

If I’m being honest here, I will tell you that most of the (many) novels that I’ve started, were not finished because I simply got my plot lines “tangled up” (in the words of the great Stephen King.) I was hopelessly ensnared in a web of story that was too big for me to get my own head around and I simply wanted to start fresh with my shiny new idea and forget about the wretched thing!
So now that I have reached the dreaded point in my current WIP where I am, once again, getting my plot lines crossed... I tried something new (at least to me).  I broke my plot lines down,  as they are thus far… and ran through each thread top to bottom, looking for weak spots. I did this one at a time.

Then, I broke it down by character. From each character’s POV, each plot line… top to bottom… so far so good. I even saw a few neat new bits I could add just looking from a different POV.

So this is what I’m trying…

I know my ending… I know what has happened thus far, and what needs to happen 'tomorrow'. I don’t have a total story outline, so I am half outlining, and half discovery writing. So to try writing in layers, I am using the daily scene snapshots to log each days writing on a separate document, they fall together just like an outline so that I can see them all in order, or if I need to switch them around, and build off of them. 


It still amazes me, how one day I feel like my WIP is going fantastic, and the next, I feel like I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing even after years of practice and study.

This is that part where writers tend to feel like they are "playing writer", I suppose. :)

I shall power through!  Today I shall write 10k!!!



  1. Good luck on the 10K! I think the "playing writer" feeling doesn't ever really go away. At least for me, it doesn't!

    1. Thanks! I didn't quite hit 10k, but so very close!! :) I've been on a writing high all day. LOL

      And it makes me feel a little better that I'm not the only one who gets that "playing writer" feeling. I still get bashful when people ask what I do.



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