Walking A Tangled Path

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img_2083I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front of late. Partly because I think I’m still recovering from the Thirty Day Writing Challenge, partly because I’ve actually been recovering from a nasty lingering cold that’s been running rampant around here (even the Queen had it), and partly because I’ve been trying to untangle the structure of Under Stone, the fourth book in my Ambeth series.
I wrote the first draft of Under Stone more than three years ago. Since then it’s undergone quite a few edits and rewrites, then was sidelined for a while as I worked on other projects. Now that A Thousand Rooms is out I’m free to roam the forests once more, but the path to this story is still quite tangled.
As the fourth book in the series, Under Stone pulls together a lot of the plot lines set out in books one to three, so I’ve had to do a quick re-read of those books and make sure that I’ve covered everything. Even though Ambeth, the characters, their motivations and their plot lines all live in my head, there are small details I’ve added here and there that I need to keep track of. So far, so good. However, the story itself also needed re-ordering, so I’ve been shuffling scenes around and, in some cases, deleting them.
Making this slightly more complex is the fact that Ambeth deals with multiple character viewpoints. I know, right? A six book series told from the point of view of multiple characters. *shakes head* Also there’s a time twisting element, which sometimes is useful and sometimes really annoying (for the writer), as I have to keep track of what is happening when in two different worlds. But oh, I love it. I love the stories and the characters, and I love it when it all comes together and I can feel the flow. I guess that’s part of the reason I write, for that feeling – it’s a little bit like joy.
I think I’m pretty close to being done now. In fact, I’m hoping I might even be able to get it out to beta readers by the end of this month. So I’ll continue to slash and burn, moving branches and reshuffling scenes, forging a new path through the tangles in the hope I reach my destination soon.
How about you? When you write a story, do you then play around with the order of events to get the best flow? And, if you’ve written a series, how do you keep track of everything? (Notes. It’s notes, isn’t it? I really ought to make more notes when I’m writing.)

If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,ย  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

0 responses to “Walking A Tangled Path”

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    Notes? What are those?? ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I’m with Sue, here. Of course, I don’t have a series… I’m curious to see different responses to this one. Good luck and happy writing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Widdershins says:

    I have a series with multiple POV’s, and yes, it’s notes, and a glossary, and character notes, and a running synopsis that’s updated as each chapter/scene/paragraph/ every bloody word (sometimes), changes. ๐Ÿ˜€ …. P.S. I love Scrivener!

    • Helen Jones says:

      Everyone is mentioning Scrivener – I do have it now, but I haven’t really started using it for Ambeth as it feels too hard (waah) to put all the notes in now. However I think I might need to take another look at it. I’m completely impressed by your organisation, btw ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Widdershins says:

        I would strongly suggest you dig into this guys course … http://learnscrivenerfast.com/ … because trying to get into Scrivener by oneself or via the Scrivener tutorials is a pain in the butt. It is a steep learning curve, but this guy has video tutorials that I’m still reviewing two years later. Some of Scrivener functions I only use now and again, so it’s very useful. ๐Ÿ˜€

        • Helen Jones says:

          Thanks for the link – that will be really helpful. I think that might be what’s holding me back from getting more involved with using Scrivener, so I’ll check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Deborah Jay says:

    I am also writing a series with multiple viewpoint characters. I started making notes at various times, and now I find I have notes everywhere! In different files, on scraps of paper, in notebooks – you name it, I keep finding them!
    Oh, how I wish I’d known Scrivener when I started, I might be more organized. Now I’m having to go back, locate and rationalise all those separate bits of information before I can move on with planning the final book.
    Fortunately, I have 2 novellas in the series to write before I get there, and I’m hoping I will have it all streamlined by the time those are done.
    I plan on being SO organised next time…

  5. Glad to hear that you’re back in Ambeth! I hope the rest of the project goes well for you. ๐Ÿ™‚
    For my series, I created what I call my “Desertera Bible” as a Scrivener document. It has a chronology of the books, character profiles, and setting descriptions. I don’t fill it out in excruciating detail, but it’s a good reference for when I need to know a hair color or how many weeks have passed since Event X.

    • Helen Jones says:

      Oh, you’re so wonderfully organised, Kate – I wish I’d had Scrivener when I started writing. I remember you saying about your Desertera Bible – I’m trying to set up something similar for Ambeth now, and I think it will be far more useful than the folders of scribbled notes I have!
      And it’s really nice to be back in Ambeth – are you back in Desertera yet? x

  6. Miriam says:

    Congrats Helen, no series from me either, just lots of articles. All the best to you.

  7. Louise Allan says:

    You’re forgiven for not blogging as frequentlyโ€”you still blog more than most. I’m yet to christen 2017 with a blog postโ€”I’m slowly waking from the torpor of Xmas and holidays! Good to hear your next Ambeth book is nearly ready. Best wishes for it! x

    • Helen Jones says:

      Thanks Louise ๐Ÿ™‚ And I imagine it’s still very much summer holidays over there – here is cold and dark and back to school and work. Hope you had a lovely holiday season, and that you’re enjoying some downtime before an exciting year xx

  8. Sacha Black says:

    All I’m going to say is I feel your pain

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