How Contingency Happened


Everyone writes differently. I don't outline extensively or chart scenes. I've learned more about how to pull a story together as I wrote Contingency, but here's the general process I followed.

Plot draft - Work out the plot details, including the inciting incident, the conflict and resolution. I got constant feedback from a small group of readers to ensure I was getting things across and pushing all the correct emotional buttons. After this draft, I added the character of Chuck's mother.

Opening – I rearranged, cut and reworked the opening chapter so that it introduced the disaster quickly and kept the emotional pitch high through the first several chapters.

Fat trimming - If it didn't move the plot forward, it got cut. I also rewrote the adverbs as body language or action to 'show' the concept rather than tell you the word.

POV - Each scene needs a single, defined point of view. We can only know one character's thoughts per scene. Some of my scenes had very wishy-washy POVs

Flashbacks - This allowed me to deepen Chuck's character, and explore what made him so vulnerable to an affair.

More fat trimming - If the scene wasn't Bobbi's or Chuck's POV it got cut, except for a few rare exceptions. I also cut out unnecessary attributions in dialogue. (Fewer occurrences of he said.) 

Death to passive and weak verbs – We don't want to be acted upon, we want action. We rarely ever need "had". 

Spelling, typos & punctuation. - This is one of the toughest read-throughs for me. I see what I meant to write, not what's there, so I review the chapters in random order and use a ruler to check line-by-line. (Then I have one of my reading buddies double-check it for me.)

Whew! 8 drafts? At least. 


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