As part of his pre-school, mini-Engineer (aka Truck Boy) was filling out Valentine’s day cards for his classmates. He loved doing it and insisted on writing all their names himself. I noticed that while he could make all the letters and knew what letters where in which name, getting them in the right order was a completely different problem.
He’d start in the right place but if he ran out of room, or if he just wanted to, he would continue the name under the first couple letters, or above, or in front of. Because there was that nice empty margin to fill up. Upon occasion the letters could be scattered around in no order whatsoever. Alphabet soup.
It reminded me of a few of my early novels. They were a collection of scenes thrown together with no overall plot arc, no through line, and no rising tension. Just as my son needs to put the letters in the right order for them to make a name, I needed to learn to organize my scenes. First thing that should be done after finishing the draft and letting it sit for a little is give it a read and just look for the over all plot structure. Is the conflict set up at the beginning of the book resolved at the end? Is there growth and movement throughout the book, or is it just someone reacting to things thrown at him.
If the scenes don't line up like the letters in a name then you probably have a problem. I just finished a structure draft of my current WIP. I’m super excited to see how this is coming together, and I can’t wait to move on to language, polishing, and really making my book shine. I’m even looking forward to checking the grammar.
Have you ever written an alphabet soup book?