Somewhere else I recently read about an author who starts her plotting by listing 25 things that need to happen in her story, then using the W plot (a great video here by Mary Carroll Moore that explains the method), she maps out the first draft.
Plot is driving me nuts and causing all sorts of anxiety and self-doubts, so I’m taking a couple of days off to work on my plot. Hopefully I will feel better about my story plan so I will get back to regular writing, and plotting is just plain fun. It’s time to indulge.
Helping this process is the fantastic cozy mystery online class that I’m currently taking. I’m now confident that a cozy with romance is my genre. One decision down and now I can focus on the story.
Next month (just a couple of days away, woo hoo!) another online class I’ve signed p for is starting–Murder in the Kitchen. I have a caterer in my story, and my protagonist often helps her caterer friend, making this another perfect class for me.
I plan to plot using lots of differently colored stickies for ideas and then move them around my “W”, and once I’m happy, put the outline in Scrivener, my writing software of choice.
Some days I need a little blue pill for my brain. Now that I’ve completed my certificate courses I thought I would easily be able to manage two online courses at once. How wrong I am.
But what to do–take only one class and really focus on it, and miss another great class; or take two classes and at least get all the great information to digest later? Uh huh, and when is later? When I’m not taking a class? Not likely to happen. When I’m not writing? Uh, wasn’t taking classes so I can improve my writing and better express my stories? Is later when I not trying to be a semi-decent committee chair? Or doing that day job?
How can I keep up?
A couple of ideas come to mind (yes, the same mind that can’t keep up.) First, goals. Get clear on what they are, don’t fear them, and tackle them one bite at a time.
Speaking of bites…better nutrition. I have to confess to food boredom. Pizza? Meh. Donuts? Not likely. Burger and fries? Never. Oh, poor me, huh? But I’m missing out of beneficial foods. Fortunately there is my local PCC, Puget Consumers Co-op, to the rescue with great classes, recipes, and high quality foods. Foods my brain needs to function better and to focus.
Focus. That is my goal this week! I’m stuck on my plot and maybe afraid I don’t know where it is going now that I have learned so much from classes in the past year. But I’m going to face it head on. And with one class ending, I only have one to focus on. Perfect!
But there’s this murder in the kitchen class I’m looking at for July… 🙂
Writing romance/mystery fiction both benefits and combines my day job with the rest of my life, and I love that I can practice this skill no matter what I’m doing.
First, and most importantly, both my work and my writing focus on relationships! By day I’m a Business Relationship Manager, and the rest of the time I’m thinking about how to craft a mystery with romance. (I know, romance is mysterious so it’s a bit redundant isn’t it? 🙂 )
Writing has built my confidence where nothing else in over five decades has succeeded. The experiences I’ve had with GSRWA and the people I’ve met at chapter meetings and our great conference, ECWC, have given me stellar examples of how a woman can overcome great obstacles, not least of all the ones that are self-imposed!
Plotting (I’m a plotter vs pantser) has sharpened my ability for deeper and broader thinking, and significantly increased my attention to detail. “But, then”…”yes, and”…”what if?”–the ability to imagine various outcomes or to explore a topic in greater depth is exactly what the current fad of “improv” for the workplace is all about, and exactly how a novel is developed.
Writing skill is foundational for the craft as well as in my day job. My writing is now not only much more finely tuned, but continues to grow with every class I take. Not only am I always in an online class, but I’ve just completed a nine-month technical writing certificate at the UW. Whether writing fiction or to explain technical subjects, the focus is still on reaching your audience.
Fiction writing is daunting because it is new to me and I want to succeed. It’s hard to let myself be a beginner at my age, but I love the constant learning, the challenges and goals I’m setting for myself, and now and then even believing I just might see my work published.