Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Writing craft

The other day I got involved in a plotting discussion - I like plotting. But lots of writers don't, including many of my favorites. IMHO romance writers are more frequently character driven than plot driven. BTW I don't think it is something you can change about yourself. People come oriented toward either situation or character. I do believe that no matter which way is more natural, you can and must learn to embrace the other side.

Plotting, for me starts with a premise, a sticky situation, a problem. That gets played with and refined into a GMC (goal, motivation and conflict) statement for the protagonist. Then thoughts of what kind of character would serve this story begin to drift in.

I prefer layered characters, I like writing biographies, interviewing, and journaling. If there was no driving need to write something readable, I could while away years plotting, sketching characters, arranging notebooks, and never actually write a single story.

But since I am goal driven, the next step is a the synopsis. Later, after the second or third draft is complete I will re-do the synopsis.

There's a final stage before my new project is ready its first draft, the controlling sentence - and a two word story mantra. Once these are in place a fresh notebook is unwrapped, labeled and the various story pieces are three hole punched and inserted with tabs. Character biographies, plot outline, GMC, synopsis, photos, story mantra, controlling sentence, theme. Notebook is ready. Now for the computer files, page count tracker spread sheet, manuscript document, and playlist.

Rituals are sooo soothing.


Blogger Lori Borrill said...

Rituals...oooh, I need some of those. My only ones are to stress, eat a lot, write and when I'm done, be so burnt from the process that I need cake to revive me and the thought of writing another book sounds about as appealing as cleaning public toilets after a Mardi Gras parade.

But that's me. ;-)

9:11 AM  
Blogger Avery Beck said...

Whoa, I am not NEARLY that organized about my writing. LOL!

I like to buy new notebooks and new pens. Then I just sit down and start scribbling. I have an entire notebook from my last story filled to the brim with illegible notes that make sense to no one but me. For some reason, when I'm stuck the ideas come out easier with paper and pen. But charts and interviews and such make me shiver (and not in the good way)!

But it sounds like when you sit down to write a first draft, you're ready to blow through it. That's the disadvantage for a pantser like myself--I have a tendency to get to a certain point and think, "uh, what happens now??"

9:22 AM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Lori, You are so funny. I hope writing gets less painful because the world needs more writers who can make us laugh and cry.

Avery, Illegible notes huh? LOL I'm overly organized and am feeling quite nostalgic for the thrilling stage of planning a new story. A side effect of being permanently stuck in revision land, or so it feels.

On the plus side, I'm getting revisions! And I'm learning that writing is not what makes a good story. It's rewriting that makes it so much better. So much to learn, so little time. . .

10:05 AM  
Blogger Lori Borrill said...

Evanne, much congrats on those revisions! I'm stuck in that spot too, having been given a whopping week and a half to rewrite about 1/3 of my book. (grr)

But I'm like you in that I'm aching to wipe the slate clean and think up something new and fresh. I think I've just hated this story from the start. Odd, how I thought it would be so easy writing from a plot someone gave me, but I never got that "click factor" with this story, and though I'm hoping it doesn't suck, every word I write feels grueling.

I think the only good thing is, most authors say they've felt the same way at some point in their careers. I'm hoping I'm paying all my dues up front and at some point this gets easier. ;-)

2:50 PM  
Blogger Avery Beck said...

Lori, I can see how that would be strange, trying to pick up in the middle of a series. I mean, if someone "gives" you the plot, you're not nearly as connected to the characters and their story as you would be if they'd come from your own head. I think I'd feel distanced from the whole thing, like I was trying to write someone else's book. LOL

Good luck finishing up. Chocolate awaits you on the other side!

5:17 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Lori, knowing you the story is lots of fun and tons more engaging than you can see at the moment.

I shouldn't be whining I'm getting great advice on what needs work. Considering how many times I've gone through this story I'm surprised I don't gag as the file opens. LOL

I know professional writers write to order, and you're a professional Lori! I can't even imagine how you do that.:~

5:52 PM  
Blogger Lori Borrill said...

I admit it's harder than I thought it would be. But you know what they say, what doesn't kill you makes you fatter. hehe

10:26 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Aw Lori,

Miss your shrink o'meter. Writing is hard however you do it. Have more cyber chocolate, cyber cake too. ;)

12:46 PM  

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