Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings

What I'm reading: Suite 606 by J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan & Mary Kay McComas.

Thanks to Darlyn for being my guest yesterday. Judging from the comments, her post hit home with so many of us. We need to step back and re-evaluate our priorities once in a while. If you haven't read it, you should. You know the drill. Scroll down. And, I'm also at Jeff Markowitz's blog today. You might remember his post about the Jersey Devil last week. I'm sharing my "job interview" with Frankie Castor for When Danger Calls. I'll be here when you get back.

I've now reached the point in my mystery WIP where writing becomes a job. I'm close to the end. I had the revelation about where the "secret" that's been the focus of the book really is. I ran it past hubby over drinks, and he gave it a positive "that's good" as opposed to a grunted, "could work." So now I just have to wrap things up. The plotting is behind me. I've brought out the storyboards to see if I have anything left on my idea board that belongs in the book, but I think it's now a matter of writing the final couple of chapters.

I think that's why I don't like outlines. Once I know that I'm at Point A and need to get to Point B, and I know what Point B is, it becomes a matter of finding the right words to get there. No more discovery. No more character reveals. Trying to keep the zing in the writing (after all, it is the climax of the book) creates more worry and anxiety than joy. This is why I could never write from an outline. Couple that with knowing I'm coming in at least 10K words long so watching the word count rise is not a happy thing.

But I'm determined to get through to "The End" by the end of the week, which is why this is a short post today. Besides, I'm already in two places at once. Hope you've visited me at Jeff Markowitz's blog. If not, get over there already!


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great post at Jeff's blog. I couldn't get my comment to go through (I'm having a rough morning!), but I was going to say that character creation really IS like a casting call or audition--great point!

Good luck with your story. Do storyboards work well for you? I've not tried using them.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Terry Odell said...

Hi Elizabeth - it took me a couple of tries to figure out that to leave a comment at Jeff's blog, unless you have an account with his system, you have to click the anonymous button first and then you get an entirely new set of options. But I'm glad you read it and took the time to pop back over here too!

I've done an entire sequence of posts on my experiences with storyboarding for non plotters (and there's a summary/handout on my website). I don't plot with it so much as use it to track what I'm writing. Kind of a backward roadmap. But in conjunction with the 'idea' board, it's really helped me focus.

Carol Kilgore said...

I've never used story boards either. Maybe I should try. I keep a binder with notes that probably wouldn't make sense to anyone but me. Most things are in my head.

Terry Odell said...

Carol, this was my first venture into this system. But since it was also my first straight mystery, I felt like I should keep track of things like ... oh, say clues. And it works for continuity better than scribbled notes. Actually, they ARE scribbled notes, but I do them on post-its and have a place to stick them. I've got binders, file folders, computer files ... it's still a 'do what works NOW' kind of process.

Elena said...

As a retired professor, I think it time to blow the whistle on the Great Outline Conspiracy. If you want to write very flat non-fiction (AKA academic papers) you must outline. The more elaborate the outline the drier the output and the more inpressed the audience.

I once had a dept chair who once insisted we all require at least two outlines from each student per semester (and this was Computer Science!). Not trusting me for some reason, he came to watch when I gave the assignment. I did such a great job of maintaining my Official Serious in Front of Chair face that he didn't even catch it when I told the students the best outlines are written after their paper is completed.

Three cheers for PostIts

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

I've never come across this storyboard concept before! How interesting!

Now that I've read Elizabeth's comment and your reply I can go back to Jeff's blog - I had the same problem... so I'm going back there now --

Just a side note - I've read Suite 606 and really enjoyed it!

Joanna Aislinn said...

Hate plotting--takes all the fun out of discovery while I'm writing the story and getting surprised myself! I, too, know a few major plot points when I start but have no clue how I'll get there either. Revision is for making it all jive in the end, right?

Thanks, Terry. Off to Jeff's place!
Joanna Aislinn
The Wild Rose Press Jan 15,2010

Mary Ricksen said...

I am not a plotter. It comes or no.
good luck Terry, sell a whole bunch of books!

Terry Odell said...

Elena, brava!

CCP - if you search 'storyboard' in the blog, or go to my website, you'll find more of my trial-and-error discovery.

Joanna, I agree. I have very broad strokes on the canvas when I start, but plenty of room for change.

Mary, I understand exactly what you mean.

Sam said...

Terry, can you give us some insight into how you think about story as you work through the first draft? When I try to write without an outline, I end up writing dead-ends and I get so frustrated with backtracking that I don't finish a draft. If I knew how to avoid that problem, maybe I wouldn't need to spend so much time thinking out the plot in advance.

@Elena: Outlines don't inevitably lead to dry writing--Robert Crais uses extensive outlines, and I don't think anyone has ever accused his output of being dry!

Sheila Deeth said...

Wow! I don't think I've ever seen real story boards. Cool.

Terry Odell said...

Sam: Have you looked at my "plotting for non-plotters" handout on my website? Admittedly, it's a 'draft' in that I wrote it before I finished the manuscript, but it might get you started.

And I'll be happy to address your overall question, but it'll have to be in another blog post -- too much to leave in a comment. Check back!