Posts Tagged ‘plotting’
Pardon me if I still sound a little starstruck. It’s because I am. I had the chance to meet Susan Elizabeth Phillips at a book signing in Phoenix on Monday night — and it was glorious.
She’s on tour for her newest book, “The Great Escape,” and she made a stop in the Valley … at Tempe’s Changing Hands Bookstore, to be exact. When I got there, about five minutes before the event was scheduled to start, it was standing-room-only. Lucky for me, the Boyfriend scrounged up some extra chairs.
I believe Susan started off her talk by telling us her introduction as “fabulous” and “hilarious” was completely untrue. But she’s wrong. I think both adjectives apply. So did the rest of the crowd, if the belly laughs are any indication.
As I listened to her spiel, I got the feeling she’s a pantster, like me. She confirmed it when she signed my book. She also said she’s going to be doing a plotting workshop at Nationals. I know where I’ll be for that hour. (I just hope it’s not at the same time as my editor/agent appointments. That would suck, big-time.)
She’s definitely an inspiration, and I’m glad I had the chance to go. Normally, I’d be working on a Monday night, but this is Week One of my two-week vacation, which culminates with Nationals.
Even the Boyfriend said Susan was quite funny. I figured he’d go hang out at the bar next door, but he stayed and listened to the talk. (He didn’t want to spend money.)
As we walked out of the bookstore, he said, “I could see you doing that.”
Me? Captivate a crowd? I don’t know about that. Not that I wouldn’t love to, of course.
From his mouth to God’s ears. I’d be blessed if I could have a writing career even half as successful as Susan’s.
You already know I spent my vacation procrastinating. This is what I was avoiding doing:
Each one of these colored squares represents a scene in my Golden Heart®-finaling manuscript, “Beauty and the Ballplayer.” The yellow ones are turning points; blue are scenes that can stay the same; pink must be deleted altogether; and green are new scenes that must be written.
I drafted this Post-It plan after sitting down with my friend Mallory, who’d volunteered to read the story and help me “fix” it. (This was after getting a couple of rejections from agents who said the same thing: The writing was good, but they didn’t connect with the characters).
Little did I know she planned to make me re-plot the whole thing!
Well, not really RE-plot since I never plotted it out to begin with. Did I mention I’m the epitome of a pantster? I write scenes in order, but I often don’t realize certain things about my characters (such as Meg’s issue with her controlling father) until I’m well into the last third of the MS.
On the second day of my vacation, Mallory and I sat at Barnes & Noble and came up with the turning points. After that, it was up to me to figure out which scenes would stay and which would go.
I was gung-ho about the project, and finished the Post-Its that night. Then I packed up my posterboards and took them to the Boyfriend’s. I attached them to the wall (where they still are, because I forgot to bring them back with me) and stared. And stared. And stared some more.
I could drown under the weight of all those little colored squares — or so I thought. Now that I’m examining the photo again with a few weeks’ distance, it doesn’t look so bad. There are:
- 16 scenes to be deleted
- 9 new ones to write
- too many keepers to count. (These, too, will need some tweaking, I’m finding — but tweaking I can do.)
Really, that’s not so much. Dare I say I’m feeling like Superwoman? I can delete long passages with a single keystroke … draft new scenes faster than a speeding bullet …
Okay, probably not faster than a speeding bullet — but first drafts of nine new scenes won’t take more than 48 hours’ work, tops (probably less).
I have this Wednesday off. Let’s see how much I can get done.
P.S. To avoid serious plot problems with my next story (the companion to “Beauty and the Ballplayer”), I think I’ll be plotting those turning points in advance.
See? The slow learner CAN adapt to new ways of doing things. 😉