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  • Shelley Dark

#4 a quick update....

Just a quick update on my novel.....

Last September when I wrote my last blog post, I'd finished the first draft, about the lives of two actual people. I'd used alternate chapters on the same date for 'him' and 'her', in vastly different parts of the world. And I'd read so many self-help writing books and done so many courses my brain was like a stuffed turkey. I was ready for the second draft.

But I wasn't sure how to go about fixing my problems. I liked her much better than him. He seemed wooden, and I had a definite feeling the structure was wonky. I'd learned there are known 'plot points' at strategic points in a story, and mine seemed to be off-target. But I had a true story, with real dates, and the plot points of my fictionalised story still had to fit the timeline.

It costs a fortune to have an editor do a structural edit to identify where you've gone wrong. I didn't feel ready for that.

Enter Lisa Poisso.

I heard her interviewed on The Editing Podcast. In a very appealing Texan accent, she explained a tool she offers: a six-week one-on-one coaching called a Plot Accelerator to help writers analyse for themselves how well structure is working in their own manuscript. I not only liked the way she thought and spoke, I loved her crazy haircut!

It was as if she was inside my brain. I jumped into her course, barely able to sleep for excitement. And she was gorgeous. Brilliant. I worked non-stop for the six weeks and I came away from it having changed everything totally. I divided my 'his and her' book into two books, one for him and one for her. Yes! A series! Lisa was generous and insightful, and I totally shifted my plot points so that they better fitted the recognised structure. It would mean killing lots of my babies (throwing out much of what I had written) and I'd have to write many new chapters.

But that didn't deter me. I had a new plan. I was confident and ready to go. Bingo.

But Christmas was coming. I was tired of reading the same words over and over, and my husband John needed a break too. I cannot tell you how many times he'd read the same chapter, tweak after tweak. And he never complained. Even when I was haranguing him for the hundredth time, 'But WHY do you think he would do that?' about some action by the hero.

I took a break, thinking we'd both be fresh in the new year.

In late January, stuffed with champagne and prawns and pavlova, I was back at the keyboard, hands poised to type.

Nada. Zip. Zilch. No words.

In quick sand, up to my breathing apparatus. I regretted all those times I'd said smugly, 'Writers' block? No I don't really know what that is....'

Would I ever write again? I was thinking not. I'd lost interest in my hero and my story.

But I did drag myself out of the quagmire. I'll tell you about it in my next post.

Until then, buddies, I wait you.....

PS. Lisa offers a full suite of editing options.

Her website is

No commission/payoff. I just think she's great.


shelley dark, writer 

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