Alright, Alright, Alright!
I learned a new writing tip today! Happy dance!
A few days ago I wrote how determined I was to finish my novel this summer. Good, bad or ugly, I’m gonna finish this baby and put it to bed. One way or the other I plan to type those two words of the promised land, “THE END.”
Why has it been so hard to get across that finish line?
Because over the past few months, I’ve felt like a writer lost in a maze. Always backtracking to start over. Now, after reading about RETCON, I’m gonna grab a pair of shears (electric) and cut through those damn hedges.
Hmm, maybe a chainsaw. Whatever, then I’ll insert a lovely statue later to fix the holes.
Boy oh boy, I can’t wait until I return from holiday to take my work in progress to RETCON depth!
Let me explain.
Thanks go to Janice Hardy who published an article by Laurence MacNaughton on using a Retcon to power through a story. Now if you’re scratching your head thinking what the hell is a Retcon, you’re not alone. I did the same thing.
Retcon is short for “retroactive continuity.”
I’ve kept a spreadsheet in excel to track who does what and when. But let’s be honest, that doesn’t always work. Sometimes I get in the zone, writing like a reporter on a deadline and up pops an absolute contradiction to a previous event or timeline.
What to do, what to do? Do I stop, or go read through all of the hundreds-thousands of words until I located the passage in question and then decide which direction I want the story to go? Next thing I know I’m stuck in a quagmire of rewrite-swamp.
Here is what I learned from Mr. MacNaughton.
- I can avoid that swamp and keep moving with a plan in mind.
- I can manipulate things anyway I see fit.
- If my childless, unmarried, protagonist suddenly appears with two kids in tow, I can type RETCON and go with her. See where she takes me. Fix it later.
If you’ve ever watched a soap-opera on TV, this happens all the time. A kid appears out of nowhere, the writer throws in some crazy explanation and the audience eats the storyline up. That’s not what I’m suggesting. But Mr. MacNaughton explains the idea a lot better. Click below and read all he says on RETCON. Then meet me at the water cooler.
Is this something you think might help you get to the end of your novel?
Do you have a problem with keeping everything straight in your plotline?
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