I think there's something in my DNA that prevents it. (That's the excuse I'm running with anyway.) This can pose a problem when you're a writer. I have yet to discover the formula that works 100% for me, but this has also allowed me to experiment. I have a binder full of print-outs on various ways to fast draft, one-pass revise, add depth and emotion, and...well you get the idea.
A week later they were at the bottom of my desk drawer, forgotten. I had decided that using the index card method took way too much time. I need/want something that is fast, that works, and that keeps me on track. This sadly, was not it.
BUT, in my attempts to figure out my own process and what works, I stumbled across a method that I wanted to share. Mainly because it does work so well for me!
I will use my book, Geo, as the example. It's almost done in draft form. It's the first book I actually outlined. I am a pantster, so outlining in itself was a huge benchmark. I am now a believer in outlines! Let me tell you why (Wait! Don't run away yet! This is good, I promise!) The beauty of outlining, and one that I had not found before, is that when you have a rough idea of where your going, you don't have to write the story in order!
I'll say that again, DON'T HAVE TO WRITE IN ORDER.
Then, I took one index card for each "chapter" and wrote down the main event driving that scene, how many pages it was, who was in it, and one important clue that is revealed. I did this for each chapter. Then I looked them over, rearranged into a more logical order, gave them chapter numbers, and could now see clearly where the gaps were. Here is the exciting part! I used my trusty index cards to add in the scenes I needed to tie things together. All I had to do was put the who, what, where and why on the card, insert it into the correct slot, give it the correct chapter number, and tada, no more plot hole!
It may sound like a confusing mess, but a light bulb went on when I saw my entire book spread out on my kitchen counter like that. When you write, it's hard to lose track of what came before or after the scene you are writing at that moment. With this method, I could see the story arch, who was in each scene, if my clues made logical sense (it's a mystery) what needed to be moved, or changed, or taken out.
I was then able to go back to the laptop and make the changes I'd marked out, and my confidence in this book skyrocketed, because I could go forward knowing that what I had written so far made sense. So I guess the moral of this blog post is to trust your own method. What works for one person may not work for another. I'm a visual person, I need to see everything in order to put it all together.
I hope that this post has inspired everyone to be comfortable in veering off on your own. There is nothing that says you can't take two, three, even four styles of plotting/drafting/revising and make it your own. We all need to find what works for us, and it will be different than what works for someone else.
Embrace it! Celebrate it! Writing is supposed to make our hearts and souls happy. Why not share something you've discovered that has made this process just a little bit easier for you? A light bulb moment? An "AHA" that made everything clear? Your idea might even inspire someone else!