Writing a Big Bang is different.
The Atlantis Big Bang is my first. I've written four novella-to-novel length stories (Out Of Bounds
, Beg Me For It
, Primer to the Dark Arts
, The Walls Of Jericho
), but even though I wrote one of these in six weeks ... a Big Bang has it's own crush of pressure.
I found that because of the length and short time frame I've had to change how I write. I Changed From This...
1. Normally I write a few scenes (sometimes at disparate points in the story). Get a feel for my characters and story. I'll post these as a WIP and gauge the response.
2. Then I write my outline.
3. I stand back from the story and look at the outline to determine the theme. When I'm doing well, I zero in on the theme right away. I can tie each scene to my theme and throw away anything that doesn't drive the story forward. When I'm not doing well, I stay fuzzy about the theme and it's hard for me to trim the story.
4. At this point I might stop writing and do some research for a while, if I find that I don't know enough to finish my story.
5. Next, I start writing in earnest, writing scenes out of order, whatever is hot at the moment. I treat each individual scene as it's own short story.
6. I have the scenes beta'd as I go. My betas and I work closely, scene by scene, as the story is produced. We polish each one and make adjustments along the way. I'll post the story as as WIP or, in the case of Beg Me For It
, post it as separate stories in a series.
7. Throughout I keep standing back, rewriting my outline, rechecking and discussing my theme to see if it's changed or deepened in the writing.
8. Finally, I add transitions to tie it all together. My story usually ends up being a third longer than I first expect. ...To This
I've found that in writing a Big Bang I've had to make a few changes.
1. I write a few scenes as usual, get a feel for my characters, etc., etc. But these aren't posted because a Big Bang is not a WIP. Instead I posted descriptions of the story to gauge audience response.
2. I write the outline. But then I have the outline beta'd before I do any serious writing.
I learned this from mad_maudlin
. Major changes are made in the outline stage.
3. Then I look over the outline and adjust according to my theme as usual (with all the usual difficulties).
4. But I can't stop to do research because of the Big Bang time frame.
The deadline is looming.
5. I launch directly into writing my scenes, often out of order. In lieu of research time, I leave placeholders for details to be polished up in the final, put in [X]s for minor character names, brackets for what I need to look up.
6. I end up with a full-length (very) rough draft with all these placeholders and question marks. There is no time to polish individual scenes. My betas read a whole story, swiss cheese though it is, in one bite.
7. I have only a month left to fill in these details. And now... glug, glug... help.
This is the point where I am. I'm overwhelmed. I've never stared down a massive rough draft like this. It's not how I usually write. I've been poking at this huge 57,000-word text for days and I can't get any traction on editing it.
Help...? I thought I'd just read it beginning to end and write as I go but it's got me beat. My betas aren't getting back to me (maybe they feel the same?). What do I do now?