Kink in Progress: I HAVE A SPOOC!

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!

Kink in Progress: Oblivion Veil Draft 1

Hey, I did a thing! Draft one for Oblivion Veil is DONE! Like, 100% complete. Done.

And it’s shite.

Okay, not complete shite. Just mostly shite. I knew from the start that my very first completed manuscript wasn’t even going to be fab like emoji poop, so I’m not upsets in the least. I meant Oblivion Veil to be my learning manuscript where I sat down and wrote until the book was done, and then once I finished draft one I had material to edit and reorganize and redo until it was something that wouldn’t make my reader’s quite in five pages. It was as much to write a story as to discover my novel writing process. Oh there was discovery all right.

I discovered I’m NOT a pantser.

For the most part I’ve written predominantly in short stories, and in those I wrote by the seat of my pants, hyped up on coffee, and well into the night. You know, less then 24 hours before the draft was due in my college course.

With short stories it’s easy to pants.

I treated this manuscript like I treated NaNoWriMo in that I sat down and wrote several thousand words no matter if my creative mood was on-point or being dragged along like a cat on a leash that said, “Walk? NOPE!” Pantsing a novel like this was really wonderful for world-building. As someone who likes smashing both the fantasy and erotica genres together, building a magical world for the romantic characters to play in is an integral part of the story. The spontaneity of pantsing offered me the chance to explore the map of my world and discover details that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Hummingbird constructs, creatures breaking through the veil, descriptions of the Veil Core, and a wonderful bedding ceremony for our romantic leads followed by an epic battle to save their city all came out of the first draft.

The first draft was not good for character development. Or story structure.

For draft two I’m sitting down and writing character dossiers and a plot outline. Once that’s done I’m going to be trying this whole thing again. In the meantime the temptation is to print out draft one just so I can throw it over my shoulder and start again is very great. Imagine all of those pages of work blowing around this room. It’s summer so the fan is on full blast. Only that would waste too many trees.

Let’s hope draft 2 is slightly better shite!