Thursday, July 30, 2009

Plotting for Non-Plotters - Sneak Preview

First - another warm fuzzy. I received this email yesterday evening.

Hi Terry
Just wanted to let you know that I finished reading your book What's In A Name? that I won recently in your contest and loved the book. I liked the relationship between the main characters and the premise of the story was believable. The intimate scenes were not overdone like so many stories I see today...sometimes that ruins the story for me ...I think some authors think they need it in order to sell their books but you had just enough. Thanks for that. I'm going to share your book with my sister before I put it on my keeper shelf. I'm so glad I won it...I doubt I'd ever picked up a copy on my own to read. Looking forward to reading some more of your work.

I never used to write 'thank you notes' to authors, but I do now that I'm writing. I know how much they can brighten someone's day, and since we work in a virtual vacuum most of the time, that contact with the end user of our product is priceless.

I have my handout for Saturday's workshop on "Plotting for Non-Plotters" ... um ... plotted. Here are the bare bones. I'll provide more after the workshop.

Keep Reading...

A bit of Googling gave me the following quotes. The first is my favorite.

“It's like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.”
E.L. Doctorow

"If I had a plot that was all set in advance, why would I want go through the agony of writing the novel? A novel is a kind of exploration and discovery, for me at any rate."
Chaim Potok

"I always start with characters rather than with a plot, which many critics would say is very obvious from the lack of plot in my films although I think they do have plots - but the plot is not of primary importance to me, the characters are."
Film Director Jim Jarmusch

"In order to have a plot, you have to have a conflict, something bad has to happen."
Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill)

"Plotting isn't like sex, because you can go back and adjust it afterwards. Whether you plan your story beforehand or not, if the climax turns out to be the revelation that the mad professor's anti-gravity device actually works, you must go back and silently delete all those flying cars buzzing around the city on page one. If you want to reveal something, you need to hide it properly first."
Colin Greenland

My bullet points:

Where to start

How far to go

Trust your instincts


Materials needed


Of course, those bullet points will be fleshed out with examples, suggestions, and caveats. I'll also drag my story and idea boards to the meeting. I'm looking forward to working with Lara. She came over last night, and we had a very easy time deciding what each of us would cover, as her approach is very different from mine.

And don't forget -- tomorrow: The next chapter from the case files of Homicide Hussey.


Elena said...

Your workshop plan sounds terrific. Wish I could be there.

To borrow from another art form "Break a leg".

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds a good workshop. I need to work on plotting.

Terry Odell said...

Elena, Sheila - I plan to make my handout available on my website. Probably next week. Hope it'll be helpful.