I haven’t been keeping up with my blog. Used to be, every other day I was here posting and every day I was visiting other blogs. I’ve fallen out of the blog routine… but for pretty good reason, I think. I’m plotting.
I’ve chatted here often about the various workshops I’ve taken and how they inspire me. Storyboarding, W-Plot, Character Diamond, Fatal Flaws and Book-in-a-Week. Well, I’ve sorted those workshops into a specific build-upon order and as I work through them, I review what I’ve already done so I keep true to the characters’ personalities, needs, desires, downfalls.
That brings me to the Fatal Flaw. Laurie Schnebly-Campbell gives this class and it is one I cannot recommend enough. I understand everyone plots differently and what works for me might not work for you. BUT… what I find about this particular set of lessons and assignments is that they build the character in astonishing ways. Showing the needs they have and why they have them. Showing how the character will react to overcome those needs or to fulfill them. It brings out their quirky habits and explains them in a way so logical, you can’t help but remain true to the character as you plot out the events in the story.
And yes, that’s the part I’m up to. Plotting the events. I’ve got the characters down – and am thrilled and amazed at how everything fits. The hero is one way and is headed down a certain path. The heroine is another way and headed down her own path. Those two paths cross every now and then. Sometimes hero and heroine just breeze by each other (in scenes of understanding) and other times they smack into one another (conflict) and neither will give up the path without a fight. Thing is, the individual paths they’re on will meet further down the line and continue as one. Whether they walk side by side on that path or fight for the lead is up to them… and me. And the Fatal Flaws.
Knowing the characters this intimately will, I hope, help me form the events in their story in such a way as to challenge them, keep the reader intrigued and fulfill the needs of all as they grow, change and find love.
Yes. I, myself, am falling in love. With my newest characters… though I do still love the one I just left behind. Ah. Such is the fickle life of a romance writer.
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. 🙂