The Summer 2018 New Adult Scavenger Hunt is over. Thanks to everyone for participating and congratulations to Nancy S, my giveaway winner.
For updates on the next hunt, be sure to visit the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page.
Mr. Fab and I just moved house. We had lived in our old house for thirteen years and it’s fair to say we had accumulated a lot of stuff. So, for the month before we moved, we set about the task of purging. Which meant I had to face…da–da–da–daaaah…the office.
Oh, good grief. You wouldn’t believe the amount of clutter I’d gathered there. I had receipts dating back to 2010, cross-stitch projects I started for my young nieces, who are now in their 20s, and a giant stuffed Nemo that my nephew’s girlfriend won at the county fair and then couldn’t fit in her suitcase. I had stationery, bags, gift wrap, colored paper, even the user’s manual for a car I don’t own anymore. I had no idea just how much junk I had been hoarding.
Once I’d pulled all of it out and tossed several bags of trash and recycling, I finally made it down to my box of abandoned manuscripts. Ugh, what a trip down memory lane that was.
I found a very early version of A Strange Companion, then titled Bond of Souls, in which Kat is a decade older and working as an auto mechanic in San Francisco. I know there are gems in there (Mary-Jo Lipinsky Meyers, one of my favorite characters) but the story takes a serious turn south around the middle and should never be read.
I found My Mother’s Eyes, a story about a girl who discovers the woman who raised her was her grandmother and sets out to find her birth mother. Meh. I found a screenplay attempt that was so terrible the only bit worth salvaging was the character of Mr. Scroggins, the cat who charmed his way into Kat’s mother’s heart in A Strange Companion. I also found Thicker Than Water, a story based on a vivid dream I had of two sisters tied by a hidden secret. Great concept, but also flawed. This, at least, had sufficient potential to be dusted off and re-examined. In fact, it’s the story I’m rewriting for this year’s National Novel Writing Month. (You can follow along with my progress through my daily Instagram posts.)
Most published authors, when pressed, will admit to several abandoned novels squirreled away in drawers and under beds or in the back of stuffed closets. For most writers, it takes time for ability to catch up with the vision, and the truth is, some novels just aren’t ready to debut.
I discarded much of the paper I found in my office, packing and moving only selected versions of completed books, and a copy of each of the unfinished ones. Even though there are hours and hours invested in those novels, they belong in the back of my new closet, where perhaps my literary heirs will discover and publish them against my will, and I will quietly turn in my grave.
I’m finally settling in to work on a new book. I’m about a third of the way into a messy first draft, which is usually where things start getting wooly and a book can go off-track. I’m about ready to get the story “up on my wall.”
I’m a visual person and I need to “see” the story. That’s really hard to do when it’s laid out sentence after sentence in a document, or even sketched out in outline form. So I like to create a story board.
I stick up a long sheet of brown paper, mark off a storyline and plot out my story with post-it notes. Then I map out certain landmarks I know I’ll need to hit in the story. These might be moments when my main character discovers something about herself or confronts another character, or where something major happens that changes the course of the story. I figure out roughly where they might happen and stick them up on the board. This way, as I keep writing forward, I have a landmark in the story that I know I’m writing towards. Even if I meander a bit, I know I’ll get there eventually.
As things get more complicated in the story, I tap into my inner super-nerd and go color coordinated. By using different color notes for different characters and subplots, I can make sure that characters don’t disappear for chapters at a time and that minor storylines don’t fizzle out. Using moveable sticky notes makes room for surprises that come up. I can also move scenes around to keep the pace of the story moving.
Here’s the storyboard I built for The Smallest Thing.
As you can see, I also use the board to collect all my scraps of inspiration. This one has pictures of the settings and characters, images that inspire the mood and themes of the story, a layout of Bubble City, and a very important timeline that I needed to keep consistent. Any time I feel the story going awry, I can check my board to see where I’m going wrong.
As I head towards the middle of the new book, I’ll be putting up a brand new story board sheet and adding my color-coded post-its. I’ll let you know how it all goes.
If you haven’t snagged yourself a copy of The Smallest Thing yet, now’s your chance.
This week only, it’s on super duper wahoo sale. Yup, you can download a copy for less than the cost of a convenience store Styrofoam cup of artificial pumpkin-flavored coffee. I mean, really, which would you rather have?
So, click on your bookseller of choice, make yourself a proper cup of coffee (or tea) and settle in for a juicy read.
Still not convinced? Here are what reviewers have to say:
“Lisa Manterfield’s richly detailed novel…is graced with themes of self-sacrifice, the power of human touch, and the need to act in the face of horror.”
~ Catherine Linka, author of A Girl Called Fearless
“It grabbed my attention from the start and held it to the end. The detail in this story is simply chilling.”
“Tense thriller. Transcends the YA genre.”
“Lisa Manterfield is one brilliant author. The Smallest Thing will stay with me for many years to come.”
And I swear, none of these reviews were written by my mum!
So, linger no longer. The offer is only good for a week.
I’m on tour with The Smallest Thing this week. Over the course of the next six days, I’ll be visiting the sites of more than thirty bloggers as they review the book.
If you’d like to follow the tour and see what others are saying about the book, you can find the schedule below or on the official tour site.
If you’d like the chance to win a signed copy of The Smallest Thing, hop on over to any of the tour stops or go to the giveaway widget at the end of this post.
I’ll be dropping in at all the tour spots this week. Hope to see you there!