Meditation Draft: Act One
Act One is the set up to the whole darn thing. If you haven’t caught on to that yet you may want to revisit Weekends 21 and 22 for a refresher. In Act One you introduce your readers to your characters. You give us a list of details we should know moving forward: time, season, location. You decorate the walls of your stage indicating these things along with any symbolism or imagery you want your reader to catch on to. Do you have a Ron & Hermione subplot? This is where you drop hints of things going on under the surface story. <3 Ron & Hermione
Yes, I am a Harry Potter fan. I waited in lines for copies of the books and would gladly do it again. Any book that can get the world reading is a wonderful thing. Speaking of books…check out my links below. Help me pay for the new, shiny refrigerator sitting in my kitchen. Yea! Cold milk! No chunks here.
Wanna see it? Come on, let’s go get a refill of our cuppas and I will introduce you to my new Frigidaire. I will say this, it was not what we wanted but it is what we needed. We didn’t stop to think that Covid-19 closed down manufactures for appliances. The item we wanted wouldn’t be available until late Oct. I can honestly say, I feel like a total jerk for not thinking about the delays. So, we got this beauty. I am pleased and not, all at the same time. First world problems. Anyway, refill your cuppas, grab something to nibble on while I roll out the reading rug. Bring your copy of The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray with you. We will be picking things back up on page 221.
What are we doing different in the meditation draft than the discovery draft? Brooding. We are brooding. As you start going back and reading what you ‘discovered’ you will find it lacking. No, you will, and that is perfectly okay. Your discovery draft is missing details, flavor, salt. As we go back, we need to add the bits that make it interesting. For example: if you have a character put something in their jacket pocket, ensure you put one on him/her/they at some point. What makes a truly good novel are the tiny details that can make your reader feel like they are in the room. We can smell the perfume and hear the footsteps on the floor.
In this meditation draft, we are rethinking the scene. When you allow your mind to create the stage setup, what did you forget to put on the page. If your character is allergic to cats and starts to sneeze, make sure there is a cat in the room. If he/she/they start to sneeze, show us the jerking movements, scrambling for a tissue, or sneezing in someone’s face.
In Act One your main goal is to get your characters onstage and introduced. How you bring them in is all up to you. But don’t forget to tell us a bit about them. Are they male, female, non-gender specific, tall, short, crazy hair, no hair? Draw us a picture. Like the image J.K. Rowling drew of Hagrid. I saw the massive man she drew for me. Your words are paint. Your fingers are the brushes. Make the image vivid and immersive. By the end of Act One you should have introduced most, if not all, of your key characters.
Take some time to make a list of scenes from your discovery draft. Include image/key symbols and main action scenes. Study your list and decide which scenes need to be expanded or fleshed out. Cutting scenes now will make things easier in the future.
Way, way, way, waaaaaay back in weekends 2 and 14 we created desires for our characters. Time to rework that list. As you write you will find things can and will change with your characters. No, you aren’t crazy when it feels like your characters took over and wrote their own narrative. It is a good thing when they come alive and decide where their story will go.
Use that want list to shape your characters as they come on stage. Oh, and if you haven’t dressed them yet…you can do it here. Give them pants and an agenda.
Strengthen your symbolism early in.
Subplot anyone? Make sure there are hints of it before you close out Act One.
Working the Novel
- Meditate: Allow your mind to play out your scenes.
- Warm-up: give yourself 5 minutes to write on, “The shape of Act One looks and feels like…”
- List Your Scenes: before you start to work, write your list of Act One scenes. Remember we are going back in to strengthen the details and imagery. If you have fully completed a scene, write done next to it.
- Rebuilding Pivotal Scenes: From your list, select the turning point moment from Act One. Is it a strong moment? A moment your reader will react to. If not, rework it.
- Chain of Events: Make sure your scenes are in order. You can’t have a car accident if you haven’t gotten in a car.
- Rebuilding Connecting Scenes: Work on your scenes one at a time. Try not to edit while writing. Get it down and worry about the grammar and punctuation later. Stay connected to what you are working on.
- Computer Work: Enter your changes into your document. Save. Save. Save.
This is my suggestion to you- at least once a week, email your work to yourself. Create a folder in your email. That way, if anything happens to your computer or you lose your jump drive you have your work in your email folder. Another bonus is you can work on your novel anywhere with it accessible like this. You’re welcome.
How are we all feeling? Are things going as you hoped? Can I help? Feel free to ask questions as we move forward. Also, I added 2 new books to our list. Keep sending me your choices for our next page turner.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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Universal Code for O-B*tch-uary: https://books2read.com/u/bOZe8o
Universal Code for Sin Full: http://books2read.com/u/m2Vdqd
Author Page: amazon.com/author/nellawarrent