Turning Points

How much of my first draft was organic and how much of it did I have to consciously create? To tell you the truth, I don’t remember. But I do remember that after that first lovely draft, where I threw in everything but the kitchen sink, and only wrote the fun parts, and had a blast just typing away–after that, the work began.

The first thing I do with a baby discovery draft is read the whole thing straight through, trying to find out where the conflict is, who the antagonist is, if I have turning points. If I don’t have turning points, I make some. And that’s harder than it sounds, writing isn’t a recipe.

But once I have my turning points, everything else falls into place. Yesterday, I was talking about my first act’s conflict arc, or lack thereof. This lack of conflict arc is not a problem because I know my turning point. If I know my turning point, I can just work backwards with the conflict arc.

For example, Eve’s problem is that she needs to fix up her new home/business but she doesn’t have enough money. Her solution is to go to the bank for a loan. Since she has valuable collateral, she thinks this will be no problem and she begins to spend the money she does have for necessary stuff like a roof and new appliances. Before she knows it, her money’s gone and she’s living off credit cards waiting for that loan to come through. The first turning point is: the loan is denied.

So, you can see how the turning point works to give me a built in conflict arc. Now all I have to do is write it. Which isn’t going to be happening this weekend, I don’t think. I’ve got lots of reviews to write by Monday, and a couple of books still to read. This is okay, though, because I’ve been taking notes, my process continues as I work through this stuff, untying knots in my head before putting anything on paper.

And I also want to give Trisha time to read and comment on my pages. She’s already agreed with Beth about the lack of conflict, but she’ll have some good micro ideas for me a few days down the line. She always does.

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