For those that took a look at my Writer’s Wall there are some big picture elements that make up this novel-designing Wall (see below). Once you have physically built your Wall, you will want to return to these elements and brainstorm about them (like the lady above :)) further in order to work out your general outline for the novel (and to fill in some of the blanks on your Wall!). At this stage, some simple point form notes for each will work well. Just give yourself a general idea of where your novel is going to go.
From Before You Write a Word: Designing Your Novel by Hedy Czu
The STORY STRUCTURE GRID
Consists of five layers
- Four Quarters of the Story-line
- Character Arc
- Romance Plot
- Action Plot
- Support Plot
The CONTAINER which surrounds the GRID consists of eight elements:
- A Kernel of an Idea
- Echo or Repetition
- External Conflict (woman against man)
- Inner Conflict (woman against herself)
- Internal-External Conflict (e.g., a goal versus the risk factor)
Once you have a general idea about how you want to fill in the blanks for these required pieces of the Story Structure Grid, you can start moving on to the details which make up the different layers of the Grid.
More DETAILS to come….
My Writer’s Wall is adapted from the Story Structure Grid described by Hedy Czu in her writing guide, Before you Write a Word: Designing Your Novel. She says, “What the musical score is to music, the story structure grid and its container are to writing. The grid and its container hold over fifty elements critical to the composition of the novel, elements all too easy to forget while in the grip of inspiration, or of writer’s block.”
The Writer’s Wall above, does not show all the elements of her Story Structure Grid, but it gives a general outline. Rather than overwhelm you with alot of details, I will provide the elements that fit within the boxes a bit at a time.
Czu firmly advocates for the use of visuals such as this while developing the novel. Visuals let the writer see the big picture and to stay on track, whereas staring at a computer screen only shows you a small piece of your project.
I made my Writer’s Wall using foldable foam poster board, electrical tape and sticky labels. Czu says that even a large piece of cardboard will do. I wanted to make mine as stable and durable as possible, so that it can be re-used. The idea is to brainstorm on file cards or post-its (she suggests coloured ones), and place your ideas within the appropriate category on the grid. This brings some organization to the project. For my purposes, after this novel is complete, I can remove the notes from where I’ve placed them and re-use my grid for another story.
Do you or would you use a writer’s wall for your novel? Or does it take away some of the creativity of writing? Let me know what you think ….
I am trying to have a rough copy of the first half of my novel by April 29th!
Wowzers. Just in time to relax by watching the Royal wedding with old friends. Is anyone else a loyal royal watcher? I always thought I must be pretty dorky, but I’ve since met others who enjoy my sort of Prince William stalking from afar. I always believed he’d find me in Canada and be swept off his feet by my beauty and charms, haha. Alas, Kate Middleton got to him first. And who am I to break up a lovely couple?
In advance of my April 29th deadline, I’ll be posting my “Writer’s Wall” this weekend. What is a Writer’s Wall, you ask?
You’ll see. Stay tuned.