The last week has been very "meh" around my neck of the woods. A cold plus a bad back made sure that all writing went out the window. However, I still managed to make some good progress on my third draft of Devs.
Wait, no writing but still progress? How does that work? Well, I spent the week redefining all the background "things."
Before I ever start writing a draft, I do basic character sketches, world-building, and a (very) loose outline. By the time I'm done with the first draft, those are all woefully out of date. I already redefined my outline before I started the second draft of Devs, but my world-building and characters needed a ton of work. I did some more research (which I love) to build up and add details to my world, re-sketched my characters (oh, how I LOVE the clarity the 3-2-5 method brings!), and then, did something totally cool that I've never done before.
I outlined each of my plotlines individually.
Now, my overall outline is fairly complete at this point. Still, I knew my plot needed tightening--one subplot managed to fall entirely by the wayside in my second draft. So I pulled out each storyline and did a mini-outline for it, detailing what happened in which chapters. And it was amazing.
In the process of looking individually at all my plots and subplots, I found the weak spots. I picked out where one needed more conflict, where another completely fell off the map, and where two of them came together, sort of mirroring each other. All of you mega-outliners are probably laughing and saying, "how can you NOT do that?" But it sure was a revelation to me!
Even though I did little to no actual writing this week, my wip has gotten stronger. And I can't wait to actually write all those little changes in.
So, my friends, what do you do to strengthen your story when you're not actually writing? What specific behind-the-scenes tricks or tips can you share that you've found create a stronger story?