One day I set out to write a story for fun. Just because.
My first novel was, oh, 50K or so. Me, being a newbie, thinks, hey, I’ve got something here and it’s AWESOME.
I didn’t query it. I didn’t know what a query was. I actually looked into self-pubbing and found out that my “novel” wasn’t in fact a “novel” yet.
Long story short, I ended up with a hack agent for about 6 months, realized I should probably do a bit more research, and ended up throwing in the towel for about a year. Too much work for something I loved so much.
Then, like many of you, Stephanie Meyer miraculously sold her first manuscript and I decided I gotta get in on this action. Rewrote that crazy little idea I had, thought it was AWESOME, and did some query research.
Two years later, several attempts to query crappy projects, and seven full manuscripts later, I’m still finding out I don’t know a goddamned thing. Am I better at this? Hellz yes. Much. Do I still have a lot to learn? Feckin right on, I do.
Which leads me to my most recent discovery courtesy of my awesome awesome friend, Charissa Weaks. She does the research for me and fills me in as we go along That’s just how we roll.
No, not really. I do my share. I practically live in Savvy Authors workshops. Ask anyone.
Last year someone asked me for the GMC’s of one of my novels, and I was like, WHAT?! What the hell is a GMC? So I Google it and guess what I get . . . shocker this is . . . trucks. LOL. I had not a fecking clue and even though I lived in all of your blogs, I hadn’t seen a single thing about this. A little more digging later, I learn about Goal’s, Motivations, and Conflicts. Had one of those moments where I reacted negatively, said dumb things like, Well, those don’t really matter, and moved on. Found out they did matter and cursed the heavens.
Last week in a workshop, I learn about MRU’s. Motivational Reaction Units. Turns out this is a little addition to GMC’s I never knew about. MRU’s can start as small as making sure your ONE sentence doesn’t start with the reaction and end in the motivation for that reaction. For example: I laughed my petunia off when Joe Blow turned, missed the exit, and face planted into the wall. See how the reaction is shown before the motivation for the reaction? Yeah. We all do this. (Look for the word “as” and “when” and you might find one of these sentences!)
Yesterday, Charissa hits me with this fun bit. Sequels. She even uses one of my chapters to explain how my overall MRU in the chapter is ass-backwards. I was still on MRU in sentence structure, mind you, so this came as quite the surprise. (MRU workshop isn’t over yet. . . . This HAS to be next in the lessons. Looks like I’ll be ahead of the game.)
I really can’t go into all the logistics behind Scenes vs Sequels and underlying GMC’s and MRU’s. Hell, I’m still trying to understand it. But Charissa did the research for you! On her new blog, The Writer’s Resource, she’s laid it all out, and even added some additional links to other helpful posts.
I’ll tell you, now that I’m looking at each chapter and searching for each detail to be sure the scenes lay out in the scene/sequel format, I’m seeing my weak areas. I just finished line edits on my ms, so next stop will be to solve those weak holes. (Definitely have some work to do on world-building. That’s a whole other job in and of itself. *sigh*) THEN I might have a solid manuscript for the first time EVER.
If you’re a plotter, you’re going to love this. It’s fine tuning at it’s best. If you’re like me and like to pants your way through everything, no worries. Write your petunia off. When you’re done, fill in the blanks of whatever tool you choose to use for this exercise. Here’s mine:
Note: IF you check out the website, motivation isn’t on the example, but this is important! Make sure you have motivations. Mucho importante.
Okay, go check out The Writer’s Resourse (daily!) and learn about this sequel business. It’ll blow your mind. Seriously.