I read Save The Cat by Blake Snyder recently, and I loved it! Folks, it has been a lifesaver for my WiP. After I finished the first draft, I realized something. I HATED everything after the first four chapters, which led me to start a massive rewrite. Yep, not fun. Anyway, after starting the rewrite, stopping because I was stuck yet again, and starting back, I got Save The Cat because I'd been reading lots of great reviews about it on different blogs. And whoa! It's just what I needed. Sure, it's geared toward screenwriting, but you can adapt the suggestions to fit your needs. One of the ideas in StC was using something called The Board. I won't go into details about it in this post, but you're supposed to use note cards to come up with different scenes and post them on The Board. I followed the suggestions and they were great (I'm a visual learner), but I still needed something more. Then I decided to make a note card for each chapter. Since I'm still figuring out all of the little details for connecting the major events, I decided to make the cards as I work on each chapter. And this has been so helpful. On each card, I write the following:
* the chapter number
* the date and time frame the chapter takes place
* the setting
* a two or three sentence summary of the plot in that chapter
* the subplots present in the chapter(I write each subplot in a different color)
*+/- Which indicates emotional change - after this symbol I write a sentence stating how the main character's emotions change during the chapter
*>/< Which indicates conflict - after this symbol I write a sentence stating what the conflict is in the chapter
I know this wouldn't work for everybody, but it's been a useful tool for me. No more staring at the screen for what seems like forever, trying to figure out exactly what I've done wrong or why something isn't working.
Do you have any suggestions for helping out with revisions/rewrites?