Friday, May 11, 2007

Them Bones

The Wyrdsmiths had a meeting last night, and one of the things we talked about was the novel that I am starting in on. Since I'm just beginning this novel, there are a fair number of things up in the air, and the conversation included a fair number of questions about what parts of the story are necessary to tell, and where the telling of that story should begin.

The story, being a murder mystery, has an outline from the get-go; I have to know what happens and who did what. And the feel of the book will certainly rely in part on the pacing of when I get to the body and what other details are included--setting, character background, etc.

This is the point where I'm deciding what the dinosaur would look like by repositioning the bones.

Some suggestions were made last nigt that will significantly impact the overall feel of the novel, which seems strange, since there isn't a novel yet. But I have to say that I'd rather get the skeleton built properly before I start layering in meat and muscle, organs and skin. For all the work that it is to organize the plot before I even start writing it, I'd rather get rid of major problems ahead of time that I can find before I take the novel down the wrong path and get stuck.

So, as a writer or as a reader (of any genre or of a specific one), what are the bones of the story for you? What details do you find essential to the structure, and which ones can change without having a big impact on the story for you? And how does feedback/critique play into you reorganizing them bones?


lydamorehouse said...

For me, critique is crucial, but then that's part of why I'm in a writers' group. I very much change my outline/plot (sometimes even character) based on what people in my critique group have to say.

Kelly Swails said...

Okay, I've been playing GHII a little too much. I saw your post title and immediately thought of a song that's on that game. I believe it's by Alice In Chains?

My outlines/first drafts are always skeletal. I always have to go back in and layer some sub-plots and twists in. Be warned: when you read a draft of Stormy Weather in June, you'll see what I mean. I have lots of ideas for internal organs and such ... but it usually takes an unbiased eye to see where they need to go.