plot, writing

Plot

Wikipedia defines Plot as “a literary term for the events a story comprises, particularly as they relate to one another in a pattern, a sequence, through cause and effect, or by coincidence.”

When I try to wrap my mind around that definition I get frustrated. To me plot is a story line full of events that unfold as the characters learn and change and grow. When I look at it that way I can sit down and plan where my story is going, what I want to happen to my characters and visualize the beginning, middle and end of my manuscript.

During my current rewrite I realized my middle was stuck as my beginning had changed so much and my ending still reflected my old beginning leaving me high and dry in the middle. So, I’ve been coming up with different scenarios of what could work for my characters, and let me tell you, it’s quite a process. I find myself going backwards to make sure something I said earlier is true now and vice versa. Consistency is important as well credibility. Readers are very smart and they’ll know if something doesn’t match up.

I advise the use of a chart or detailed synopsis of every chapter and where you want to take the story before you start to write. I didn’t do that with this manuscript. I jumped right in and wrote what was in me. It was a wonderful experience doing it that way but then your left with inconsistencies and unbelievable characters, events and settings.

I fully believe that writing is a never-ending learning process.

writing

Internal & External Conflict

Now that I’m at a critical point in my revision process where I’m about to join the two parts of my manuscript (the revised with the second half), I’m having questions and doubts popping into my head. Which brings me to the title of this post – internal and external conflict. Do my hero and heroine have both?

Does my heroine have a fear or a problem that only she can solve, something that is affecting the way she behaves? Does she have something outside herself – in the world around her – that is causing her grief?

And will she grow and change from these experiences and the process involved in solving both her internal and external conflict.

Now sometimes these conflicts can’t be solved as they are out of the characters control, but they can be accepted which is part of the characters personal growth.

And it’s important that the characters share the same external conflict. It gives them something to solve together and brings them closer.

I did a quick note taking and I think I’m safe… for now. 😉

editing, romance, Romance writing, writing

On A Roll…

Now that things have slowed down around here I have been able to find time to write and get my revisions done. Having a deadline is quite helpful and keeps me on my toes. Of course, the more I fix the more elaborate my scenes are becoming – which is a good thing I suppose – but it seems to keep the midway point just out of reach. That point where I can just take out a word here or a sentence there, and then give it an overall polish before sending it off to agents.

I must say I am getting quite excited as the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter.

Next, I have to do a synopsis. I’ll save that for another day… 🙂

writing

Work or Play

Now in no way do I consider my writing play, but compared to my “real life” jobs that actually pay the bills, I have to think along those lines sometimes.

As I am getting my manuscript ready to go out to agents all I want to do is stay at home and write. It’s my passion and I love doing it. It makes me happy and I get excited just thinking about it.

But then the real world interferes with these plans throwing in timed schedules, work hours and family obligations. I love spending time with my family and they know how important my writing is to me and they give me the time needed to get some work done, but my “job” which has lost all of its luster, waits for me, like a bad headache, to monopolize all my time.

Which makes finding time to write so precious. Find it when you can. If you need peace and quiet lock yourself in your room or office if you’re lucky enough to have one. Wait until the kids to go school and let the housework and laundry sit for a few hours. Don’t let the distractions of a clean and orderly life keep you from finding time to write.

That used to be my excuse, but not anymore. Even if it’s only half an hour or fifteen minutes, getting anything down on paper will keep the creative juices flowing.

Right now I have an hour to write before I go to work so off I go…

Uncategorized, writing

Second Guesses

Did you ever second guess what you’ve done? Maybe something you wrote or said? Well, I’m doing that right now all because an editor told me she questions the credibility of my book.
Seriously.
No one knows my book as well as I do and the fact that I am letting this bother me when it’s not true is a waste of my time.
And I refuse to let one editor bring me down.
I’m off to do more writing!

surrey writers conference

The Afterglow of SiWC

What an amazing weekend!!! It went by so quickly it’s hard to believe I’m at home again. My mind feels like it’s going to explode with all the information I absorbed over the last three days.

From the morning keynotes to wonderful lunches where you got to chat with friends and most importantly make new friends, as well as, networking with all the wonderful agents, editors and authors that surrounded us at every turn.

From Jack Whyte, Diana Gabaldon, and Anne Perry to Robert Dugoni, Ivan Coyote and Julia Quinn (oh, but to name a few) – it was a star-studded event.

Agents from New York, San Francisco and across Canada – it was an authors dream come true.

The workshops were great and loaded with invaluable information to take home and add to our writer’s toolbox.

On Saturday they put on a Mystery Guest lunch were they placed an author, editor or agent at each table and we could pick their brains, ask advice or chat about anything and everything we wanted – of course writing is always on the brain at this conference!

I had the pleasure to sit with agent Laurie McLean from Larsen Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco. She was such a warm, friendly and wonderful person, her excitement about being there and talking about the thing she loves – writing – was contagious.

I got the chance to speak with Nephele Tempest from The Knight Agency in New York and Valerie Gray from Harlequin.

A real special treat was getting the books I had purchased signed by the authors who wrote them.

We were also invited to the Romance Writers of America cocktail party on Saturday night and I met a couple of wonderful girls there who I really enjoyed talking with.

Sunday came along way too fast. The morning keynote was Author Slade and he talked about treadmill desks!! What a picture he painted for us but his message was clear. We as writers need to get off our butts from time to time and exercise-take care of ourselves and be healthy.

After two more workshops we had our final lunch and then our afternoon keynote was Robert Dugoni. His Aragon speech from LOTR Return of the King as they stand in front of the Gate of Mordor – will forever be changed for me as he interpreted it for a writers destiny. “And we WRITE!” I had goosebumps!

He inspired me, as I’m sure he did for everyone there, and when I left that banquet hall I wanted to turn right back around and go back inside so my time there could never end.

I’m already making plans for SiWC 2011!!!!

surrey writers conference, writing

Countdown to SiWC

It’s getting close! Eleven more days until the Surrey International Writers Conference gets underway. I’m very excited. My pitch is ready to go and my chapter revisions are coming together nicely.

There is a lot to do to prepare for such an event. Manuscripts to polish and print off, research on the editor/agent you plan to see, questions written down for the blue pencil. A list of things to bring such as a tape recorder, batteries, lots of pens and paper, business cards if you have any, your pitch… oh the list can go on and on but I’ll stop there.

Right now I would describe myself as excitedly nervous. Does that make sense?

I still have a lot to do to get ready so I’ll end this blog here for now and let you know how my preparations are going. 🙂