That title probably needs an explanation.
Scratch that. That title definitely needs an explanation.
I’ve been writing/editing my first novel, Oblivion Veil, and am bound and determined to actually finish it. Earlier I posted that I had finished draft one. (YAY!) Now in the revision process I’ve been using Deborah Chester’s The Fantasy Fiction Formula as a baseline for the editing process.
As a side note, this is not a promotion for the book, I just found it when I was scrolling through Jim Butcher’s Twitter feed. Butcher (author of The Dresden Files, The Codex Alera, and The Cinder Spires) is my idol, and he Tweeted how Chester is the woman who taught him everything he knows and that she wrote a book about writing novels.
Uh. Hi Amazon. Shut up and take my money!
I won’t do a full review of the book, but I’ll talk about the first chapter, which is all about testing the thesis of your novel before you ever start writing. As the proud owner of a bachelors in English, this obviously makes sense. A thesis for any academic writing is the central mast of any paper, so it stands to reason that novels might have a similar framework. Everything in a paper must support the thesis in some way, otherwise it has no purpose. Likewise everything in a novel must support the plot in some way, otherwise it ends up on the cutting room floor.
Ssshhhiii-! I wrote my novel without testing the thesis. No wonder the first draft fell apart!
Chester calls this test a SPOOC (acronym for Structure, Protagonist, Objective, Opponent, and Climax) and when done right it’s the foundations on which you build a great plot. I first read this and thought, “Cool, let me just sit down and write a SPOOC for Oblivion Veil… why isn’t this working?!”
As it turns out, my plot didn’t hold up to the SPOOC test in draft one, and it took me longer than I care to admit to fix that. You see, I was having troubles connecting the Objective and the Climax together in a compelling way. Today, though, was the day I conquered the beast – IE, sat in a Starbucks drinking passion tea (what else for an erotica author?) and staring at my notebook and technicolored pens determined once and for all to either create a viable SPOOC or abandon the project.
Spoiler alert, I connected them and made the SPOOC. VICTORY!
You know what I did wrong?
I didn’t make the love interest in an erotica novel important enough. (Pardon me while I smack myself upside the head.)
Take note of your genre, gentle readers!