Starting again… and loving it.

As I work on the query and synopsis for my completed story, I’m also working on the next one.

It’s actually quite exciting. In the past I’ve struggled with “starting”. It seemed the story I just finished – and its characters – had taken hold of my heart and mind and wouldn’t let go. I’d try to work with my new characters but hear the old character’s voices.

So… starting this new work immediately after finishing the first had me a little on edge, wondering if I could do it so quickly or if I had to let some time pass. Well… so far, so good. I think I’ve finally worked out a system that blends the needs of my muse, me and story.

I was a workshop diva – signing up for every and any workshop that came my way. I’ve modified some of them, taken parts of each that ‘spoke’ to me and blended them into a method of plotting and creating character that I enjoy. For my past work, I was a true pantser. Just typing away as the story came to me. I’m very happy with those stories. And I love the memory of writing them. The thrill of hearing the character’s voices in my head, seeing them move and interact, then rushing to the computer to get it all down. So exciting.

But I spent a lot of time revising those stories. A LOT. Pantsing like that just wasn’t working for me the way I thought it was. I, apparently, need some direction. My Gemini spirit is too flighty and must be guided – though not restrained.

And so… I now work with Laurie Schnebly Campbell’s Fatal Flaws, Sue Viders Character Diamond, and Karen Docter’s W-Plot (the latter of which, closes by incorporating a subdued ‘storyboard’ that, when properly done, transfers beautifully into a synopsis). I highly recommend each of these workshops. For me, parts of each of them make the characters come to life. With a little work, their deepest desires are revealed along with the conflict they’ll face trying to achieve those goals. Finite details are not disclosed, that happens during the writing process. What’s left is a planning stage that’s not only fun (for me), but also edges me closer to writing the story.

My synopsis and query are nearly ready to go. And this time, while I wait for a response, I’ll be doing what I love most – writing the next story with my notes there to help keep my excited Gemini muse on track… or at least close to that track. 🙂

7 Responses to Starting again… and loving it.

  • I love these workshops. (I’ll take any workshop hoping I can glean one more tool for my belt). Eventually though, one does start to sift through them and create a personal method that seems to work. Have fun creating your new story.


  • Hey Debbie and Linda, we benefit so much from workshops and also our RWA Chapter meetings where we get all kinds of insider information on publishers needing certain kinds of stories since their needs are always in flux. Good luck with your next story, Debbie. I am writing two at the same time with characters intermingling, what fun.

  • Linda,
    Almost every time I finish taking a workshop, it this it’s the one. It isn’t until I try to apply what I’ve learned that I realize what really does or doesn’t work for my particular way of writing/plotting/creating. Mixing several ideas has indeed formed my ‘personal method’ as you say, and I’m having fun with it. Not that it’s all peaches and cream but then it wouldn’t be called “work” if it was, would it. 🙂

  • Kathleen,
    You’re writing two stories at the same time and mingling characters?!?!?!!? How cool! It sounds like that would be difficult yet oh so much fun! The very idea makes me smile.

  • Debbie congrats on finishing the dreaded synopsis. I love the start of a new project, I’m doing that right now (not really RIGHT now). It’s great fun. Good luck with the new project.
    I wish that I would have hit on a system or way that works for me. Right now I’m trying putting scenes on index cards then sorting them and putting them in order to write them in sequence. So far so good. I tried Karen Doctor’s W plot and struggled with it. Perhaps the in person version would have been more beneficial than the online version. It was hard to ask questions and the time went too fast for me and then was over. Oh, well. Maybe if I have the chance I’ll take it again in person.

  • Beth
    I’ve gone through tons of trial and error looking for a method that might work for me. I don’t know why the ones that work, do, but my critique partner said something to me once and I stick by it – “Don’t question the magic.” Other ways might have worked for me, but what I mentioned in this post are like magic because while they force me to ‘plot’ (though minimally since I’m more of a pantser), they also allow me to have fun with the process.

    What I’m saying is when you do find your method, you’ll know it. Hang onto it.

    And just as an aside… If you think the W-Plot is something you might like, feel free to email me and I’d be happy to help walk you through it.


  • Debbie, I’ll never forget the “aha moment” when NY Best Seller Susan Squires explained how she writes a synopsis. The first paragraph is her back cover blurb, no more than 65 words. It’s a summary of the synopsis. Then, the next paragraph begins the story with a bit more depth. Here is the first paragraph of my synopsis sent to Whiskey Creek for my book, A KEY TO ALL THAT GLITTERS:
    After Heatherlee Baronova’s spa is robbed, the investigation is headed up by sheep rancher and sheriff, Marc Duarte, who’s determined to prove that dirty money built Clearwater. Marc knows Heatherlee’s problems with her late husband’s partner, an ex-con, will escalate if he doesn’t intervene. Little does he realize what he’s getting into with the Russian theft ring… and Heatherlee’s long-time desire for Marc himself.

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