As it turns out, I am having a harder time giving up on my WIP than I thought I would. Even though I’m ready to put it aside and ignore all of its problems, I can’t let it rest. Instead of working out the details for my next project as I lie in bed at night, willing myself to sleep, my mind keeps wandering back to my WIP. How can I fix it? How can I make the story I know is in there work?
The other day I was browsing the blogosphere and I came across a post by Alexis Grant titled Learning by doing (or the importance of story arc). This post got me thinking. It’s not that my story is a bad idea. I think the concept is there. The characters, with a little bit of editing, have the potential to be quite lovable. The problem lies within the story arc.
Now this is something I’ve sort of known. Every time I sit down to work on my WIP, I find myself stuck on the flow of action. But it isn’t the flow so much as it is my inability to pick my inciting incidents. I have thrown so much in there, the reader doesn’t know where to look.
In researching story arc after reading Alexis’ post, I came across this very familiar diagram. You may recognize it from middle school English classes. I know I used to sit and stare at it, wondering how this was going to help me to dissect Lord of the Flies or get the lead in Antigone. As a reader, it didn’t seem too useful. As a writer, though, it is quite useful.
If you are not much of a graphs person, the explanation of story structure that goes with the graph was pretty clear and concise. Between the graph and the explanation, I feel like I now have a pretty solid grasp about what makes a successful story arc. And that brings me back to my WIP, which pretty much lacks a story arc.
And so, I am picking my WIP back up and working out the story arc. I’m sure there will be a lot of shifting and deleting, but if it leads to a book that people are excited about reading, isn’t it worth it in the end?