Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall is Writing Time

*If you're looking for great pie pumpkins, get these dull, ugly babies. They are really bright orange on the inside and have thick "meat". Cooked, sieved, mixed with ingredients like molasses for pies, the taste is surpreme.
It's that time of year… Nanomonth, pumpkins, autumn leaves, etc. Writers get busy, invigorated by conferences, hyped up by holiday sales.

My nearest writing groups are excited about Nano/Jano. I thought about doing it this year, to finish a Work In Progress (WIP). In reviewing the WIP, I had the synopsis already, a partial done, and notes.

I don’t know how many are outlining their month long writing projects, but I thought this might help someone: When I first started to publish, the purchasing editor wanted a numbered paragraph outline. 

She wanted 10 chapters (I started in category).
It’s a good basic outlining process:
·      Place 10 numbered paragraphs down the page.
·      Each paragraph has 2 sentences. A.) what happens in the story and B.) what is happening in the relationship.
From that, the story grows.
I do more plotting now, but this basic still holds. You can do 20 chapters, etc. But halfway, say Paragraph 5, that is the midpoint. The story has to grow up to the midpoint. It has to continuing growing. By the last chapter, the storyline/romance had better be completed, the questions answered.

Everyone has their own plotting method. There’s the old plotters vs plungers deal, where one type of writer will plot heavily, while the other just jumps into the story. Both have value. I do both.

I’ve used plotting software. Some of it is too complicated and you lose writing energy conforming to the software. I’m fond of PageFour by BadWolf Software (they create good products, i.e. SmartEdit and NameGenerator). However, currently PageFour is only in PC. Their trial software is great. I’m so hoping they move to Mac. I’ve done tons of work on that program, which is especially great for keeping series information straight.

One program I liked isn’t around anymore, or maybe it is. It was a Brown Bag program in early PC time. Basically designed with Frames, the author listed all the main things/plot points that should occur in the story, then dragged them into whatever Frame suited—this is along the lines of a 4 act play, so 4 Frames.

The SHAPE of the story is different from mystery to romance and mystery is different from suspense. All good things to note when plotting.

Plungers, just write. Not that you write Dreck, but Dreck is really important to get started to get this vehicle up and running.

You know you’ve got a good story when you’d rather work on it than watch your favorite TV show. You know you’ve got a good story when it feels like it has a heartbeat. 

If you can tap into that heartbeat, don't let anyone take that excitement from you. Best to all you Nano/Jano writers.

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