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Johne

Spreadsheet: The Giant Tamer

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If you're an author and you struggle with how to make your novel better, I highly recommend this short (20 min) podcast from Anne Hawley. She details how the Story Grid in general and mapping your novel out in a spreadsheet in a particular revolutionized her writing and it can help you, too. Unlike the mythical magic bullet solution, looking analytically at your novel can show you exactly where you need to cut, where to rewrite, where to add content to your novel. Anne cut 100k words out of her novel and made it better in the process.

 

(Hey, fellow Pantsers. I used to sneer at structure and scoff at story analysis. I thought it killed the organic ebb and flow of story. I thought it removed all the mystery and life out of one's novel. I was wrong wrong wrong. Give Anne 20 minutes and let her make her case.)

https://sgeroundtable.simplecast.fm/5fd9232e

 

Quote

 

  • If you have a full manuscript…
  • If you know it doesn’t quite work but you’re not sure why, or how to fix it…
  • If it’s way too long, and just cutting adverbs and shoe-leather is not going to cut it down to a manageable size…
  • If you want to hire an editor, but first you’d like to bring your manuscript to a more professional level on your own and save a lot of money…

…then it’s Spreadsheet time. Take a deep breath, crack your knuckles, and accept your fate, because I know of no clearer path than The Spreadsheet to streamlining and repairing this complex thing known as a novel.

 

 

 

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You know, I think she's on to something.  I used to be a pantser, but that was before my stroke.  Since then I've learned that if I want to write something good, I have to plan it out.

 

Good stuff, Johne.

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13 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

I used to be a pantser, but that was before my stroke.  Since then I've learned that if I want to write something good, I have to plan it out.

 

I'm looking forward to completing this novel so I can write the next one with a little more forethought using the Story Grid principles I've been learning since last summer.

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It’s a fact of life for us long-writers: we tend to reiterate our important points, testing them with different flavors or colors, trying to get them just right. Then, because we also tend not to be story planners, we embroider whole wonderful scenes around the second and third iterations of those important points. That embroidery leads to another lovely scene, and pretty soon extraction has become a delicate, complex maneuver with a high emotional cost.

That's me!  You might have a convert, though the work involved scares me.  

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2 hours ago, Nicola said:

You might have a convert, though the work involved scares me.

 

It took me the better part of three weeks to finish my first spreadsheet. I did it because what scares me is not being published. ;)

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1 hour ago, Johne said:

I did it because what scares me is not being published. ;)

Good perspective!  I'll get cracking.  

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