This will never become a book.

2013 October 29 Tuesday

Plot Recipe

Filed under: writing — Tags: — kdefg @ 14:09

I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo for years.  My first year, I began the month with a blank page and no plan, and I generated characters and scenes out of thin air.  It was awesome! But it was not a book.  My second year, I began the month with a theme and some vague ideas, and I stalled very quickly.  I don’t even remember much of what I produced back then.  Even after reaching my 50K word goal two summers ago, I still have not produced a novel.

I finally joined a local group of writers who meet monthly to discuss The Craft.  I started to see the wisdom of making an outline and thinking about the importance of plot and structure in building a story.  I found books and articles and blogs that all presented their own spin on the idea that a story must have a structure.  Some of the focus was on movies or television episodes, so the templates might not work ideally for a novel, but the concepts are all there.  A story has ingredients, and they come together in a fairly common mixture.  I was afraid at first that my outline would restrict me, like a template or a formula which produces the same bland thing each time. Now I like to think of it as a recipe, and the results can vary with the cooks.

One benefit of being part of the NaNoWriMo community is in being exposed to more resources.  The @NaNoWriMo twitter feed gave me this gem today:

Our #NaNoCoach this week, @teribrownwrites, mentioned a post about feeding the muse by @KristenLambTX. Find it here: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/fueling-the-muse-for-nanowrimo-part-one/

And with that link, I was off on an adventure.  I discovered more info about plot points, much of what I’ve read elsewhere, but it is finally starting to sink in.  The rest of the blog is full of similar inspiration. I now have a synopsis of my story and a list of scenes ready to tackle.

Is it November yet?

 

 

2013 July 8 Monday

fiction sprint – Circus

Filed under: writing — Tags: — kdefg @ 14:32

“Mommy, what do those words say?”

Allison held her daughter’s hand as they walked past the storefront displays inside the mall. There were banners and signs everywhere, covered with logos and photographs of products, splashes of colors and sprinkles of numbers, and occasionally a word or two.

Lily was five years old now, and only recently discovered the joy of reading. She understood that books contained stories which were made of words which were made of letters. She was forming the connections between letters and sounds, but still wanted someone to tell her how to say the words she saw in unfamiliar forms.

“That one says ‘Sale Today’,” said Allison.

“It looks like ‘toe day’,” Lily insisted, pronouncing the first syllable with a long ‘Oh’ sound. “Maybe it’s spelled wrong.”

“No, that’s the way ‘today’ is spelled, trust me.” Allison pointed at a sign in the next window. “Can you find the word ‘sale’ on that one?”

They continued exploring the sights for the length of the entire mall. Sometimes Lily would pull her mother forward to the next store if Allison paused too long to gaze at the pretty dresses in the windows. Sometimes Allison would guide Lily away from stores with provocative images or inappropriate words on the signs.

They reached an art store, and they both came to a halt in front of a large poster hanging in the window.

“Mommy, what’s that big word?”

“Circus.”

Lily protested, saying something about the word starting with C instead of S, but Allison was no longer paying attention to her daughter. Her eyes were fixed on the faded image of the poster. It was a montage of classic circus sights: a clown juggling balls, an elephant with one foot on a pedestal, a lion roaring at a tamer, a woman standing on the back of a trotting horse.

A tug on her hand brought Allison back to the mall.

“Mommy, I see my name there! See? It says ‘Lily’ next to the horse lady. Right? That’s my name!”

Allison blinked away the memory of her former life, her former stage name, her former lover.

“That’s right, Lily. That’s what your name looks like.”

Lily clasped her mother’s hands with both of her own. “Can we go to the circus? When is it?”

“Oh, this circus isn’t here anymore. This is an old poster. The store just keeps it for the artwork.”

“Is there another circus? Can we find another circus and go there? I want to see a circus! I want to see the animals and the clown and the lady with my name.”

“Not every circus lady will have your name, Lily.”

“That’s okay. Will they still have a clown?”

“Every circus has a clown,” Allison said, looking at the poster with a sad smile, “but there will never be another one like him.”

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