I know where I'm going - I've been there before and I'm going back - with my BookMap.
I've made 16 poster-sized pages of the journey through my story. Unfolding each page reveals columns filled with words about setting, characters, motivations and revelations.
I had no idea how important 'mapping' my novel would be when I began analysing the 2nd draft.
The timing was perfect for me. I couldn't wait to finish my accounts' spreadsheet in April. It was such a relief to be filling columns with words instead of numbers.
The April Mapping Your Novel workshop with Imogen Cooper and Vanessa Harbour was a little terrifying. Especially the 'Spider Chart'. How could I begin to work out what my novel was really about?
What amazed me was how much of my 48,000 word story I remembered. I'd finished the 2nd draft of my 'middle grade' fiction at the end of last year. Drawing the spider chart was an adrenaline rush
to get to the heart of it. What are the main themes of the story? What do they all lead to? I remember being so excited about telling all to my piece of paper that it made me cry . But it was
O.K. Vanessa was nearby, watching over the brood of Egg writers. She gave me a reassuring smile and there were mini chocolate eggs on standby.
It took me a month to complete my BookMap. 24 spreadsheet style pages. 10,000 words. I loved discovering my story all over again. Reading every chapter and noting down everything, including time of day - details, details, details. Then it was time to meet Mother Goose (AKA Imogen Cooper).
- What's your story about?
- What's at stake?
- What are the points of no return?
- What's missing?
- Why is there a ...?
- Who is...?
- What does she want?
Write down the things you can't write the story without.
And I did. I revised my BookMap to a focussed 16 pages, 8,000 words. I have a new title, a new ending and a clear story. I've molted 7 chapters. It was all down to answering Imogen's insightful questions.
As a result of all this mapping practise I have completed 2 of my picture books and devised 2 more. My 63-page 'swipe book' for ipad is now also a traditional format 32-page picture book after a glorious 2 hours remapping it. Bonus!
Big thanks to all at The Golden Egg Academy for nurturing this little Egg.
I couldn't resist making a real map out of my BookMap pages.
I never dreamt I'd be more excited about my story now that I'm at the rewriting stage. I've prepared Act I. Now I'm ready for the inaugural Golden Egg Writing Retreat this weekend. I've downloaded Waze, there's a Sat Nav in my car and with my BookMap, I'm good to go.
I realise, after talking with Vanessa Harbour on facebook this morning, that my BookMap makes me feel like I have a book now. Also, I was surprised to read that it's not only new drivers who use
a BookMap. Read Vanessa's blog about hers here.