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Donald C Meadows

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Writing Road Map
by Donald C Meadows   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2007

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What I do to help move a story and not get lost.

With the first novel OF ICE AND STEEL in print and doing well, I set about working the next book EPITAPH.

With one novel done the next should be easy. NOT!  I found myself wanting to tell everybodies little stories, and I got lost. Missed the big picture. I set the manuscript down for a month, then read it. I had no idea of what was going on. If I as the author had no understanding, how in the world were the readers going to get it?

My editor and publisher wisely wanted the next book not to be the 556 page monster that OF ICE A STEEL was. (But a great monster!) 

So while looking at a map from NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, I got an idea, and at least for me it works.

Get yourself a map of anywhere. Pick a starting place, and mark it. This is where your story starts. Now pick a place you wat to go. Mark this as the end of your story.  You need fuel to get you there. In this case words are the fuel. Say your editor gives you 80,000 words. You have 80,000fuel words to ge to the end. Now look at the map again, and think of a trip you have taken in your life. Did you drive right through, or stop to see the Worlds Largest Ball of String, or go outta of the way just for a view of the sea, or mountians?

These diversions take up fuel. Just like in a long trip the diversions can be fun and educational, but you have to limit the usgae of your fuel or you'll never get to the end. They can also serve the same purpose in your story. They give the reader some back plot, or show why a character does what they do. Just watch the words you spend on the diversions. Plan your trip so these exits off the main road add to the trip, and not cause you to have to ask Farmer Clem for directions.

I hope this helps new writers who are feeling frustrated and wantig to give it up. Just plan a trip and enjoy the ride.     

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 2/24/2007
well said

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