Monday, January 29, 2007

Three Facts About Me...

I'm being lazy today and copying a post I made today on

Three little-known facts about me.....
  1. I was high school valedictorian and tortured unmercifully for being the smartest girl in class. But I wear my survival through senior year like a badge of honor.
  2. Among my friends, I am the "Queen of Useless Information." They come to me like I am resident 411 operator, able to answer their questions on practically any topic or find the answer in a flash.
  3. I once jumped out of an airplane. Because I was too afraid to take the required swimming class in college, I chose to take sports parachuting. Doing a static-line jump at the end of the semester was not required to pass the class but I ending up being one of three students who "took the leap." Talk about a rush! But I promised my family I wouldn't do it again.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Starting Over...

Progress on my manuscript has stalled and I've been struggling to stay on course and plow my way through. Finally I violated every piece of advice I've gotten and started over!

Well, not exactly over in that sob-uncontrollably-burn-all-180-pages-and-stare-at-a-blank-Word-screen kind of way. But I am starting at Chapter 1 and reading my work with fresh eyes - not the eyes of the writer but the eyes of a reader - asking myself some simple questions.

Does the story grip me from the first few pages?
Do I like the characters, both primary and secondary?
Are the secondary characters even needed?
Is the story progressing too slowly?
What are the conflicts between characters and within characters?
Does the plot have holes?
Is the theme apparent?
Are elements of the story cliched or trite?
Would I even want to read past Chapter 12 (where I'm stuck)?

Of course as I progress I've had to resist the tempation to make edits concerning:

Word choice, and
Sentence structure.

Those will come later. Right now this is a highlevel review where I need to figure out if the story even works and where it is going. Plotting is a major issue. I know the end of the story but not the nuances of the middle. Damn, damn, damn! I'm banging my head here.

But alas, no one said writing was easy.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Let's Get to Know One Another

My friend, Jennifer Shirk, sent me this list of get-to-know-you questions and asked me to post my responses on my blog. Talk about torture! Well, Jennifer, here are my answers.

1) What’s your favorite song?
"I Believe I Can Fly"

2) Name the top 3 favorite vacations you’ve had:
Los Angeles, Disney World, Barbados

3) Name the top 3 vacations you’d like to have:
Paris, Alaska, South Africa

4) Who’s your favorite romance author?
Beverly Jenkins

5) Name your top 5 all-time favorite books:
The Edge of Dawn by Beverly Jenkins
Topaz by Beverly Jenkins
Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Nobody's Baby but Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen

6) If you were/are married, how’d you meet your husband?
No married

7) What’s your favorite food and/or beverage to have when writing or working?
Coffee and water

8) If you had your choice, name the top 3 agents you would want to represent you.
Deirdre Knight
Steve Axelrod
Vivian Beck

9) Harrison Ford, Colin Firth, Denzel Washington, Patrick Dempsey, Keifer Sutherland, or Jamie Foxx? (Pick only one, ladies)
Denzel Washington

10) LAST QUESTION (a la Barbara Walters to Katherine Hepburn): If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
A willow tree (flexible yet strong)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Plotting: Is it an Exact Science?

I'm sitting at my keyboard jotting down notes for the plot of my latest WIP and am suddenly wondering how other writers tackle the whole plotting process.

I'm an analytical person and want to try to approach the task systematically. I've created a Word document with a number list of plot points, i.e. a chronological list of events that take place in the story. Each numbered item is about a paragraph long with a summary of the interaction between the characters. No dialogue, no scene description. Just the action. Hopefully I'll be able to use each item or combine items to develop a scene or scenes for a chapter.

Once that's done, I'll read the items as a reader, not a writer, looking for holes, inconsistencies and illogics. This will allow me to ask questions which will aid in developing character motives and reactions.

Next I'll use my trusty-dusty Scene Worksheets. The scene worksheets are terrific. One each sheet I record:

  • Chapter and scene number, i.e Chapter 1, Scene 2
  • Location/Setting
  • Character Point of View
  • Characters present
  • Scene goal(s)
  • Starting point
  • End point
  • Events in the scene
  • What the scene accomplishes?
  • Where does this scene lead?

Sounds pretty intense, huh? I'm simply trying to make sense of the plot and not wing it as I go. Have I run int roadblocks? Yep, my first WIP is mired right in the middle chapters, mainly because my hero and heroine don't seem to want to act according to the plan. I know in time those two and I will have a detente, but it's been hard.

I have read that other writers use devices like:

  • Outlines
  • Index cards
  • Writing in notebooks
  • Storyboards and pictures

So how do you plot? I'm dying to know.