Plotting, Not Plodding!
Plot points, crisis, and climax, oh my! I have been reading up on plotting, taking a deep dive into process and techniques, attempting to distill the information that others have provided in books like The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen, and The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman into something that I can easily absorb and make part of my ingrained writing process and inform my teaching process, as well.
This is not the first time I have delved into plot at this level. A couple of years ago, I published an essay about plot called “Plot Isn’t Just a Four-Letter Word,” You can find it on line here for free.
Making Emotional Connections Through Writing
Making emotional connections through writing is always at the top of my list of goals, whether I am writing poetry or prose.
When I tell people I am a writer, I get the usual questions and responses. “What have you published?” “Someday, I’ll write something.” “I wish I had time to write.”
For me, writing isn’t something I want to have done. It’s something I need to do, and not just “when I have the time.”
I have been writing for years, in journals, on napkins and little scraps of paper, hoping to reach out and touch someone with my words, hoping to connect, and always finding some understanding of my own feelings and emotions.
Things I Learned Writing The Matriarch’s Devise
As with every new book or writing project, there are a lot of things I learned writing The Matriarch’s Devise. However, one of the key things I grew to understand on a deeper level is how much trust it takes to bring a story to life and send it out into the world. Here are five things I learned about trust while writing the sequel to The Healer’s Legacy:
Writing Fiction and Making the Words Disappear
It may seem counterintuitive, since we work so hard at choosing just the right words when writing fiction, but one of my main goals during the editing phase is to make the words disappear on the page. I do this in such a way that the reader will forget she is reading, instead “seeing” the action in her head. While it sounds like a magic trick, it is in fact a fairly natural state for me. As a visual writer, I see the action as I write it. In fact, as I tell the people who ask me about my writing process, I often feel more like a journalist than a fiction writer, because I simply follow my characters around inside my head and write down what they do and say.
As a writer, one of the best things I can hear from a reader (aside from how much they loved the story and how much they want more) is that I made them late for work, or caused sleep deprivation because they stayed up all night finishing my book. The last thing I want to give them is the opportunity to set the book down to go do something else.
Sensory Details Can Bring Your Story to Life
“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it’s raining, but the feel of being rained upon.” –E. L. Doctorow
Humans use five main senses, which are our key physiological capacities for data perception. However, in most early writing, there is a tendency to focus on only two of these, sight and sound and leaves a lot of opportunity to add sensory details.