Welcome Wednesday guests for July: Edith Maxwell 7/2, Kendel Lynn 7/9, Leslie Budewitz 7/16, Krista Davis 7/23, Janet Simpson 7/30.

Gloria Alden's latest publication is nonfiction. Boys Will Be Boys: The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys. Edited by Cher'ley Grogg was recently released and available on Amazon. Gloria wrote three essays and two poems in her chapter included in the book.


Congratulations to four of WWK’s bloggers whose books were released in the last two months. Look for Jim Jackson’s second Seamus McCree novel, Cabin Fever; Linda Rodriguez's new Skeet Bannion mystery, Every Hidden Fear; KM Rockwood's new Jesse Damon novel, Brothers in Crime; and Gloria Alden's third Catherine Jewell Mystery, Ladies of the Garden Club. All of the novels are available at bookstores in print and ebook.

Paula Gail Benson's short story "Confidence in the Family" is featured in the Mystery Times Ten 2013 anthology, which can be bought at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Times-2013-Linda-Browning/dp/0984203583/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1387240857&sr=8-2

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jim Colors Chapter 1

I read Ramona’s post from July 23rd with interest. Being a visual thinker and a math guy (see my last post), Ramona’s First Chapter Coloring Project fit both parts of my personality.

After buying my tools, I made my first discovery: yellow and green from this set look too similar to be useful, so I substituted orange for green and followed Ramona’s rules:

Blue for Action
Orange for Dialogue
Yellow for Description
Pink for Background

I’m sure I miscolored some lines, but in my first chapter of 2,145 words and 143 lines, I found

58 Action lines
40 Dialogue lines
30 Description lines
11 Backstory lines
4 Backstory lines contained in dialogue

Oh good, I thought. It’s a nice mix and having only 10% backstory (some of which was nicely hidden in dialogue) is surely acceptable. The longest continuous backstory lasts only four lines. I was golden.

Then I looked at that four line chunk and asked questions.

Was it important information? Yes. Crucial for the reader to understand at the point I added it? Errrr, not exactly. Instead of eliciting this four line history dump with a question from a minor character, I can have my protagonist get defensive and provide this same information in a later scene when a cop questions him, upping the tension of that scene.

Then I looked at the 4 lines of backstory concealed as dialogue. Same questions; same answers.

Of fifteen lines of backstory, all are important for my readers to understand. For seven, the best place (I think) is right where I have them. Two take up one line, one takes up two lines and the third uses three lines.

I’m about to transfer the other eight lines and start coloring chapter 2.

~ Jim

3 comments:

Ramona said...

Jim, that colored manuscript is beautiful!

Kaye George said...

Jim, you might not know it from reading my first drafts, but I do a color coding, too. It reveals a lot!

Maybe I should do it before I send my chapters out?

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I'm not sure I would bother coloring my first draft, which is an attempt to get my story down on paper.

In the second draft I attempt to straighten out plot points, character arcs and other major problems I introduced in draft 1.

Only on the third draft do I really start editing -- but maybe that's not a good idea.

Thoughts on when to first pull out the crayons?

~ Jim