Mary Buckham

Onward…

I have successfully completed five synopsis versions. Note, I did not say I have completed five successful synopsis versions. rolleyes

I’m happy with the final one, though I’ve gone according to the 1 page per 10,000 words rule. I’m going to let it sit for a couple of days then get back to it… mainly because I’ve signed up for some one-on-one synopsis help with the wonderful Mary Buckham (who gives wonderful in-person and online workshops), and am waiting for feedback from her.

Not one to simply kick back and wait, I figure it’s time to look ahead to the next project. I have an “Ideas” file loaded with… well… ideas. There are stories in there waiting to be written, characters eager to be brought to life on the page. And then there’s me – just a little gun shy after having completed a book only days ago. 

I’m not exhausted. If anything, I’m energized from the ride of the last story. I’m not numb creatively. I have new and interesting scenes playing out in my head.  

I am however, torn.

Which story do I work on next? The ideas pull me in all directions. I want to write. I want to get back to what I was doing just a week ago, and hammer out the story, feel the very last rush of words spring off my fingers and onto the page.

Alas… that’s called “finishing”. 

This… is called ‘starting’.

Plotting – whether in detail or denial – is a long process. I’m in denial right now – insisting I’m a pantser through and through when actually, I desperately need a balance of plotting and pantsing.  So, while I’d rather sit here and type away, showing my family how busy I, as writer, can be, I’ll be thinking and no doubt convincing them I’m simply goofing off.

I’ll spend the next couple of weeks turning scenarios over in my mind, picturing the worst obstacles I can throw in my new hero’s way, measuring how high my herione can leap and building hurdles twice that height. I’ll be plotting without paper. Watching the story develop. Seeing the sway of my heroine’s hips, the swagger of my hero’s purposeful gait. And I’ll be dreaming, hearing their voices. Eager for the moment a blank page turns into the first page of a brand new chapter.

Golden Nuggets

I had such a great experience with my Book-in-a-Week class that I just can’t keep it to myself. Soon I’ll be posting an interview with the Book-in-a-Week mistress, herself, since she’s graciously agreed to speak with me here. I’ll keep you posted on when that will happen.

Meanwhile, book-in-a-week (BIAW) fever is still soaring for me. Before this latest story, I’d spent a lot of time revising other work. Starting something new after all that time was tough. That’s why I accepted the BIAW challenge in the first place – to fan the fire under me again. Yowza! Did that fire get fanned!

A lot went into preparing for this challenge, by the way. I didn’t just take the class and have at it. I’m a workshop junkie. I love them. LOVE them. Love the interaction, the push, the praise, the hints on how to make things better. I love it all. What I especially love is plucking out the gems that work for me. And that’s how I see workshops… like panning for gold. You never know when or where you’ll find that one brilliant nugget.

I’ve found quite a few brilliant nuggets. Some of my favorites came from workshops like –

Shelley Bradley’s Storyboarding (scroll down on linked page to find workshop info)

Karen Docter’s W-Plot

Mary Buckham’s …. anything!!! … Pacing, Sex on the Page, One-on-one Synopsis and more.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell’s … again anything!!! … Fatal Flaws, Plotting via Motivation, Block-busting (putting the joy back in writing) and more.

And now, of course, April Kihlstrom’s Book in a Week.

Nuggets from each of these workshops have helped me set up the structure of my WIP, so when the day came to take up the torch and run, I was ready. I think what’s happened in the past was a blind desire or need to write without the necessary prep-work. I’m a pantser who likes to plot – but only a tiny bit. What I’ve learned over the years is that my needs and methods shift with each new story. For some, I need more plot details before I start, for others the details are like quick sand.

Each story is unique and requires a fresh approach. I like it that way. Maybe it’s the Gemini in me, who knows. Point is, I’ve learned there isn’t one set formula for writing a book. It’s a fully customizable process with handy upgrades. The workshops I’ve taken have taught me about those upgrades and how to apply them when necessary.

Are there golden nuggets in your writer’s toolbox? If so, what are they and where did you find them?

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