Monday, August 23, 2010

Trust Your Subconscious

What I'm reading: French Pressed, by Cleo Coyle

We pause for these commercial messages…Digi Books Café has a 20% discount offer on all e-books. NOWHERE TO HIDE is one of those books, so if you've been contemplating reading it, this is probably the cheapest way to get it. The coupon code is e3d9d10a3c. Link to the book is here.

Of course, if you 'd rather have a personalized hard copy, you can email me and I'll send you one (or any of my other print books).

Friday's special treat of seeing one of my Free Reads, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PAGE, get some unexpected publicity still makes me smile. If you missed it, you can see the article here. The link to the download itself is here . And, for the record, Hubster even downloaded the Kindle app for his phone so he could "buy" the story and help keep its sales ranking up there.


As you read this, contractor gods willing, our guys should be finishing up installation of the new "front" door and getting the new lights and mirrors in the bathrooms. We finally got delivery of our nightstands, so no more cardboard boxes. Next up: exterior pressure cleaning and a new coat or two of stain.

As for writing …



Plotting, or the lack thereof, is back in my mind. I'm doing a workshop for the Emerald City conference based on my story tracking system, and they're asking for a copy of the handout so they can print and distribute them at the workshop. A boon, to be sure, considering airline luggage restrictions.

The workshop is based on the way I wrote Hidden Fire, and at first I considered revamping it totally using more examples from my WIP, but the marketing muse flapped around my desk and reminded me that I'll be signing Hidden Fire at the conference, so wouldn't it make more sense to entice potential readers with glimpses into that one. I acquiesced (not in small part because it means less work) but am still dealing with plot issues in the WIP. It's seriously time to drag out the idea board and tracking board and go back to chapter 1. Since I had no room for them in our living quarters when I started writing this one, I've been far too lax.

If you're not a plotter, you can't be afraid to make changes as you go. Trust your subconscious. My heroine took something of value from her husband when she fled his abuse. When I started writing, it was going to be a large amount of cash. But then I realized I was tied into some plot points established in Where Danger Hides, which is in production, so I can't go back and undo them. She was broke in that book. If she had cash, why wouldn't she have used it? And it can't be easy to liquidate, either, or she'd have done that.

So, time to find something else she could have taken. It has to be small, and something that would lead her husband to her if it was sold. I posed this question to the Yahoo crimescenewriter's group (and thanks to those of you who responded there), and got some good suggestions ranging from art to gold coins to baseball cards or comic books.

I went back through my WIP to see what I might have already said. Lo and behold, I'd already laid the foundation that the husband was a collector of things that would increase in value: This from Chapter 5:

She remembered cowering on the floor, watching him put the ledger into his wall safe. The one behind the dreadful abstract oil painting by some unknown artist Victor swore would be famous someday.

Now, I'm not locked into art, because all I have to do is tweak that paragraph with some references to his having other collectibles locked up somewhere, and I can still pick and choose.

Tomorrow, my guest is Autumn Jordon who will be talking about "less than perfect" heroes. While she's here, Hubster and I will be spending the night in Cripple Creek for our 41st anniversary. Please make her feel at home.

And Wednesday, I'll continue dealing with plotting when you don't know the actual plot. Since I won't actually be "here", responses to comments will be slow, but I'll check in sometime Wednesday when we get back. And, no, I'm not giving up anniversary time; these posts are all scheduled ahead of time so I can enjoy the time away. Want to give me a present (aside from buying one of my books)? Send some traffic this way. Follow, or get someone else to follow. Leave comments. Enter my contest. Surprise me with a great hit count!

20 comments:

P.L. Parker said...

Good post - learning more every day from these. Thanks.

Kathy Otten said...

Hi Terry,

I don't usually leave a comment, but I'm a frequent visitor. You always have such great tidbits to share.

Carol Kilgore said...

Plot is a four-letter word. I need to be a better plotter. And better at making my characters nastier. Nice nightstands.

Terry Odell said...

PL - you're welcome.
Kathy, thanks for stopping by, and double thanks for leaving a comment.
Carol - I SO agree with you about plot. Glad you like the nightstands. They really help with storage, too.

Pam Beason said...

I've found that any time spent writing an outline is mostly wasted for me; the book always 'evolves' while I'm writing it. When I start I always know where the book starts, where it ends, and the turning points, but I usually have no clue how my characters are going to get from point A to point B.

Linda Morris, Romance writer said...

Good post--it comes just when I need some reassurance. I can't seem to construct plot in advance for the life of me--it always comes off contrived or my characters take things off in other directions. But going totally by the seat of my pants makes me nervous, so I wind up following a hybrid, which also makes me nervous. (I guess I'm just a nervous writer by nature!)

Mary Ricksen said...

Love the posts Terry, I find something new to learn every day, and your posts help me.
Good luck!

Terry Odell said...

Pam, I agree; I can't outline. I can scribble notes about scenes and characters, but no plotting.

Linda, I think being nervous about whether you're doing something right is universal among writers. I've heard a lot of Big Names say they're always convinced they'll never be able to write another book.

Mary - glad to know. Thanks.

Terry Stonecrop said...

I like that idea. Great post!

dirtywhitecandy said...

It was so interesting to see this snippet of your writing process in action. It's amazing what clues are already in our manuscripts that we can use when needed - and sometimes I find my subconscious is prodding me because it knows something I've forgotten. I've had many moments like this recently with my WIP.

Terry Odell said...

TerryS, DWC, glad my methods aren't totally mad.

Linsey Lanier said...

Fascinating post, Terry. We see so many articles on how to plot from the plotters point of view. It's refreshing to hear from a pantser. I'm half and half, myself. It's good to know I shouldn't ignore my subconscious.

Mason Canyon said...

Running late stopping by, but just wanted to say Happy Anniversary. There has to be a misprint on the number of years. It is 14 not 41 right? You must have been a child bride. Have a great time.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Terry Odell said...

Linsey - that would probably make you a "Planster"

Mason - Thanks, but it's 41, not 14. and I was far from a child. Good genes, and perhaps a little credit to the photographer.

Kathy said...

Hey Terry just got to the post. I love reading your posts. WOw 41 I'm coming up on number 40 in Feb, we are among the few that last this long. I hope you have a wonderful anniversary. I saw the posts I think it was interesting. Do you in your writing ever rethink what you have going so far?

Sandra Cox said...

Good blog, Terri. And I agree about listening to your subconscious.

Terry Odell said...

Kathy - it does seem that there aren't a lot of long-time marrieds. My parents are still together as well.

Sandra- thanks for stopping by.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

I'm so excited you'll be coming to the Emerald City Conference! I'll be sure to take your workshop.

anny cook said...

Heh. Can't tell you how many times I've subconsciously plotted something...only to have it all work in the story line later. Good post.

Terry Odell said...

Rebecca - we'll definitely have to hook up.

Anny - Seems our fingers often know what to type even when our brains are confused!