My post was inspired by a boating trip a few weeks ago with my family, and my writing life. I am in the midst of powering through activities and life with my kids and writing, and I apologize if I haven't been a good blog visitor lately. Tomorrow, I'll dedicate some time to visit, and on Friday . . . I just might have something exciting to share.
Drifting, Sailing, or Powering Through Plot?
I used to think I could jump onto the Dawn Writer, and flourish my pen to fill my sail-pages without using a compass, or a chart. I thought I would have clear sailing into the horizon . . . which would naturally land me in Published Author’s Port.
I didn’t count on the Storm of Doubt, or the misguided winds of Unexpected Characters who seemed better than my protaganist, or the Lazy Channel that sent my Dawn Writer drifting into the Island of Unrelenting Fog. The horizon line went missing, the Dawn Writer hit a dead calm, and I abandoned my first novel-ship.
At that point, I decided I only had the strength and stamina to write poetry and short stories. Basically I went from a sailing vessel to a seadoo.
I tried to turn all my ideas into shorter pieces. It didn’t really work. I kept taking seadoo-stories onto the open ocean, and then stalling them. I often received this feedback from magazine editors when they rejected my stories: “This is not a short story, seems like a piece from a longer work.”
So, I went from reading books about sailing into the horizon line without a compass or a timeline, and started reading books about outlines, charts, compasses, and travel timetables. I checked books out from the library that normally would make me cringe. First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner went from being a “not-sure-if-I-want-to-check-it-out” book to a book I checked out and re-checked out until I received a notice from the library stating politely that they really wanted their book back, NOW. So, I politely turned it back in, and then joined NANOWRIMO 2010. I wrote my second novel in 30 days.
It was smooth sailing.
Well, until I sailed out on Dawn Revision with a compass that blew overboard during the Storm of Busy Life. A few months ago, I finally went back to port, made myself a Map of Revision Crevasse, and decided to take the power boat Dawn Revision II out for the trip. I gave myself a deadline, and I’m keeping it. Daily, I check my compass and my charts of the troubled waters, powering through the safe passages, heading straight for the bustling Port of Query.
So, do you like to drift with the tides, sail with a full set of charts, or drive your novel like a powerboat?
This is a link I recently enjoyed that gives a good snapshot of plotting for the reluctant plotter.
Provost Sentence - Shelly Brown's great post on writing a provost sentence, which I like to call a basic plot sentence.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 (yes this one again)
Other awesome blessings from my life:
1. My Dad's upper G.I. test results showed no cancer or internal bleeding in that part of his digestive system. Praise God! He has more tests coming, but with some iron supplements to fight the anemia, he is feeling much more energetic.
2. Our dear friends' daugther who is the hospital continues to amaze her doctors and nurses with her joy, her peace, and her health progress. Her brother has been shining his light with the other patients at the children's hospital too. Their family has been a blessing to us, and now they are blessing others!
Thanks for all your prayers and kind thoughts!!!