Yeah, I’m behind. Maybe I’ll catch up today!
Last night I was plotting and wracking my brain for more material. It then began weeping uncontrollably and begging for a reprieve. So, I decided to give it a little boost. I picked up my copy of Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. Now I know you’ve heard me rave about him before, and while I take many of his instructional books as biblical truth, I ended up noticing something I had forgotten in my reading last year.
On one of the pages I had underlined one of his passages. (I know, I hate writing in books as well but this is necessary.) In one of my recent posts I stated that I wrote from the perspective of “if it has worked for someone, it can work for me”. While that’s true, it’s not exactly the full idea. Scott Bell designed his “Bell’s Pyramid” in order to explain.
You see on the bottom and largest tier he puts the word passion. First, as writers we need passion. We cannot write for days, weeks, or months on any given topic without having a passionate reason to go on. A passionate plot is the beginning.
His next tier he fills with the word potential. Look at your novel and figure out what your “investor-self” would say about it. Is it interesting enough to grab more than your closest friend’s and family’s attention? If writing to a specific genre audience keep them in mind. What makes others in that field successful? What “idea” is it they are passionate about?
His topmost tier is about precision. This tier is about honing your target. You need to make sure that whatever your goal is you never distract from it. Don’t take the attention from where you are headed.
Something big that he hits on is that publishing companies want something that isn’t exactly like everything else. Yet, they don’t want something that is so new and different that they don’t know how to handle it. This “safe zone” is where they are reaching for their next great novel.
So when I’m writing I’m pulling not from one single source but a myriad of sources. I often laugh at myself because if you’ve ever seen the show Gilmore Girls the band Hep Alien often describes their songs as being so-and-so meets so-and-so meets so-and-so, with a little bit of this band and that band thrown in. They list an absurd mash-up of different band genres that they find inspiration from. As writers that’s what we must do. So while we do steal and copy to a point, we only do so in order to make it our own unique style and story.
If you love John Wayne and how he portrays those wild west characters but really love the way Robert Taylor looks then try making some mixture of the two for yourself. Or maybe you like how Fred Astair dances and the way Sean Connery speaks, now it sounds like you have either a great leading man or an incredibly interesting enemy. The possibilities are endless.
So, yes, what others have done did work and can be utilized by you to succeed. Learn from their works. See what makes their plot stand out. Why does their story work? List each plot point, list every character’s attributes and flaws, and then try to design something similar for your own novel.
Have a good one!
In my last post I had just begun writing my novel. I just had the bare minimum to go by. An idea that was close to fleeting. Today I stand at around 16k words. I finally had to crack down. It’s been hard. It’s too easy for me to let other things invade my time and take over. Whether it is laundry, my dogs, or other needs in my family there is always something to be done.
Luckily, I have a wonderful family who understands my self-inflicted challenge. They respect that I’m pushing my brain to its limits and that unless they want to hear every wordy struggle it is best to let me stay in my own little world. I can’t even begin to explain that maddening feeling of finding just the right word you need. Request, desire, need… behest! That’s the one!
Slowly I’ve been churning paragraph after paragraph, page after page worrying about how to get my MC from point A to point B. And the moment I stop stressing out over it and press on the problem solves itself. I know I say it often but the best way to solve a problem is to KEEP WRITING.
The things our minds do without our awareness are astounding. Some of the things I worry the most over solve themselves without any conscious thought. Our brains are incredibly designed. When you get your ending set up from the beginning your mind starts plotting. In a weird way it takes up the reigns and only requests that you be obedient and WRITE IT DOWN.
If you just ponder day in and day out without writing anything down then you don’t have anything to work off of. Your mind begins putting into place all of the pieces your story needs. When you get it out either onto paper or on your PC you can look back and see that all of the threads begin to connect.
Recently I have been surprising myself with how well this works. I had a moment where I knew my character would need saving in a bathroom. But what was she needing to be saved from? The only thing my mind could throw up was that she was suicidal. But that’s not in her character. It is totally opposite of who she is. I didn’t want my story to head that direction.
So I decided that if I didn’t like it I could always edit later. I kept writing. I was behind and it was going to take everything I had to get caught up. And then it happened. The solution I was looking for popped up out of seemingly nowhere. I was able to prevent her from going that far south and yet still accomplish my goal.
When I later recounted what happened to her all I could say was, “As it turns out, she was never suicidal at all!”. My brain already had a solution waiting in the wings. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand it all right now. If you give it a chance and don’t quit you will have, I’m sure, many of those such moments.
I hope you find this post useful if nothing else. Have a good one!
I’ve been hold up in my
novel hovel so please forgive the lateness of the posts. I promise one or two for tomorrow!
Have a good one!
Plotting as you go may sound insane. And that’s because it certainly is. If you have always been a pre-planner, like myself, then you live for lists. If your plans abruptly get changed you do one of two things. You either freak out and freeze or you adapt rapidly and continue on. I am more of the latter myself and am constantly looking back at the end of the day, or experience, pondering. Sometimes crying.
With NaNo I have had to change my plans. Not again, just in general. Since I decided to fast draft I am having to plan my story day by day. Which can make writing five thousand words a day an even bigger challenge. For, once you have covered your daily plotted territory you must stop, at say two thousand words, and plot some more. It can be highly inconvenient. So while I have the television running I am wracking my brain to come up with new material.
It’s when the desperation sets in that I discover I must stop pressing myself. The world suddenly becomes far too loud and distracting. It is maddening and frustrating. But…when you stop squeezing your brain and allow the loud and distracting world in there you find material. Just when I am annoyed at the show blabbering on I drop my guard. Maybe I can pull something from this show. Do I like something about these specific characters? Obviously I do otherwise I wouldn’t be watching it.
I begin to analyze the plot and subplots. I begin to shape my writing world using traits I admire in the shows I watch and the books I read. Attitudes and verbal inflections become playthings. Maybe this character can move like this and talk like that. In the end I have my own unique character made from components of things I like.
And if I like them, then others must as well. Otherwise these things wouldn’t be popular.
So I begin plotting. Piecing together bit by bit the story I want to tell. Starting from three major points and adding many, many more. Fueling the writing fire and indulging in the madness I have carefully cultivated! I begin to fast draft and press onward toward my goal. Words flowing like massive rivers. Pulling my brain along in their rapid currents. I pen each character and play with their emotions like some masochist.
The word count escalates and the adrenaline pumps through my veins! I’m gaining with every second more momentum and typing like a bat out of batman’s secret underground cave! And yes it’s insanity with seconds upon seconds passing ever so quickly but I’m writing and that’s all that matters!
So if you’ve felt the need to give up, give in, or sign off I will infect you with the fever as well. Take to your keyboards and listen to the world! There is inspiration everywhere. If you don’t stop and instead adapt and move on the journey awaits! Don’t freak out! Use the challenging changes as fuel for your imagination’s fire!
Here’s to your many writing trials! Have a good one!
5k a day for 4 days a week and you’ll have 40k in less than 2 weeks.
It is possible! Don’t give up! Keep writing like madmen!
One of the many perks to being a woman is the ability to change one’s mind. Although, often that also means making life a lot more difficult than it needs to be.
The story I originally had planned has been kicked to the back burner. After some research I’ve realized that it would be best told after a bit more study. I guess you could say that my muse got the better of me. I have since employed a new one and taken on a new task.
I’m going to do a Fast Draft!
I’m more excited now than I was before. Not that I wanted to shirk the work of the first idea, but that I have more creative freedom with this novel and I haven’t even gotten started yet. A fast draft is the only way I’ll get this crazy writing month back on track.
For me the first idea began as a neat twist on an old classic. As with any classic, however, I felt a certain need to stay true to the original essence of the text. I wanted to be as simple minded with it as the original. And I just don’t feel that would be possible in such a short ( and pressured) time as NaNo.
For my next trick!
I’ll be writing my own story. The best way I can describe it is as a whim I can play with. NaNo is a challenge to begin with. Adding excess rules makes the creative mind feel cramped. So I changed over to something I made up. Giving my mind full control without fear of canon ( aka having to follow someone else’s rules).
I hope you’re writing your little brains out! It is amazing what you can accomplish when given the chance. NEVER QUIT!!! NaNo is a personal challenge. I’ve told you all before that my first year I only managed 8k words. Which now takes me no time at all. It forces you out of all comfort zones and makes you grow more than you ever imagined.
Have a good one!
By Gail Carriger
It’s been two years since Lord and Lady Maccon welcomed their unique Prudence into their unique world. Adopted by Lord Akeldama and often making some sort of ruckus she has definitely developed into a force to be reckoned with. Only, now she is in high demand by possibly the oldest creature in existence.
It’s off to Egypt against all better judgment. To take Prudence, to investigate the murder of a beta, and to divulge information about her mysterious and outrageous father. But maybe there’s more to be discovered at home? When Floote is overheard speaking a foreign language by the newest member of their pack, Biffy, there’s mischief afoot.
The world of Egypt is strange. A god-breaker plague is spreading and there’s only few who can stop it. But should they? Werewolves notoriously have one of two fates. Either they die in challenger fighting or they live long enough to go mad. Could this plague be really as bad as all that? Lady Maccon doesn’t like it at all. It is strong enough in the air, but on the ground the repulsion is strong. Thanks to an accidental scientific discovery she may, however, be able to tolerate it.
Many threads are unraveling as the story reaches its ending. Did the butler actually do it? What kind of alpha is waiting in the wings? Who’s falling in love after all? What secrets are left to be uncovered? And who needs to be saved from all of this insanity?
Decades of mayhem come to a stunning conclusion. And in vampire fashion it is neat and tidily done!
This book goes out with a resounding bang! I greatly enjoyed reading and re-reading this series to get every tiny detail. Gail Garriger does an excellent job of not only tying off loose ends, but shocking us all in a very wonderful way. I couldn’t believe how well she constructed this story from Soulless to Timeless. The ending was seamlessly brought together. I have never read a series that gets everything just so. She did. This book is, honestly a 9.9 out of 10 stars for me.
Have a good one!
Do your research!!!
While this advice has been plaguing my mind recently I wanted to use it here. When you decide to write about anything (a place, a viewpoint, a thing) you want to study up.
Say you’re writing about France but you’ve never been. What would you do? Travel sites would do you little good. Anyone?
Right! You’d ASK SOMEONE whose been there. Maybe even lived there. Because you’re not just going to describe the city, you’re going to want to “feel” the culture and tyre atmosphere.
I, myself, am writing about a disease at the moment. I know very little about this disease aside from what I’ve seen on TV. What did I do? I found many web sites and personal accounts about this disease.
Not the thing to read before bed time, let me tell you.
I now know more than I ever imagined about this sickness and how it affects the human body.
When it comes to writing fiction you can do anything. However, you still want your audience to connect with it. So when you pick a known place or a disease you need to have hard facts to pull your reader in. Give them a tangible world to climb inside.
The moment you write about Times Square in your 2010 mystery and say that there’s a 300 year old Yoshi statue in the dead center people will call you out. Or if you write about Smyrna Georgia and say that the Mississippi river bisects it folks will send hate mail.
Taking the time to research will not only intrigue your readers but it also excites the mind. Finding out that writer Gail Carriger studied MacDougall, the Scottish scientist before using him in her Victorian era novel is fascinating!
Have a good one!