Thursday, June 26, 2008

Organizing the plot

Today, we begin with organizing the plot.

Normally, I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer. I have a good idea of t he beginning and the end and some ideas for getting from one to the other; but otherwise, I let my characters lead me. I have a lot of fun and a lot of surprised this way. However, it doesn't work as well for a novel-length thriller/mystery. Despite the jokes and fantasy setting, that's what I'm trying to do, and I didn't want someone to come back disappointed that I'd dropped a clue or left something hanging.

I have a terrific program, Anthemion Storylines. It simulates index cards on a cork board--great for organizing, making notes, storing ideas until I can use them... I've written entire stories off of it, and use it to keep track of my Magic, Mensa and Mayhem serial. Great program--but it failed me this time. For some reason, my head needed a new method to identify holes, figure out links, etc.

Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, who writes amazing stuff, told us during a workshop chat at the Catholic Writers Conference Online that when she is stuck, she uses Post-It Notes on a white board. So, I spent a couple of hours writing out blue stickies, re-arranging, consulting my husband, and thinking. And it worked! Something about the tactile process loosened my brain--or maybe it was because I felt very silly--the eccentric writer. I can get into that.

(Note--this is a recreation. I can't find the actual photo, but when I do, I'll replace it.)

Word Count: 11,500. About 2000 behind my goal, but we meetings and yard work took priority.

Fave Scene:

Setup: Vern, Grace and some agents are discussing how demigods get their power. (The old cliché that they feed off worship, human sacrifice, etc...) I found a reference that the cult of Adonis consisted of planting fast-growing plants, then mourning when they wilt. (Yep! How do I resist that?) I'd also just finished scrubbing out my son's dead Chia pet. Here's what that gave me:

(Vern said) "...Different demigods have different preferences, however. Sekhmet, death; Coyote, practical jokes and general mischief--"
"Adonis?" Rak asked with a cocked eyebrow.
Grace cocked her brow in return. "Crying over dead plants, actually. He has a special fondness for women with black thumbs, but he's not powerful enough for a portal. He's really a very sweet soul. Plus, other than finding Chia pets™ amusing, he's not especially interested in the Mundane world."

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