I Did It

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Well, I Did It

23I did another first in my life.  I actually finished a novel.  Well, it was really just a first draft.  It took me 101 days, and is nearly 170,000 words.  If you want to read about it, you can read about, if you wish.

Following the advice of people I trust, I put it away.  I will take it out, probably after the first of the year, and see what I think of it.

In the mean time, I will go off and do fun stuff for a while.  For one, I’m picking back up with studying James Scott Bell’s book, Plot and Structure.

Go to my stories.

See my favorites.

Read about me.

Contact me.

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Plotting To Be Scene – Part Ten

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Plotting To Be Scene – Part Ten

I am studying how to plot, and the relationship of plots to scenes.  I recently completed my first draft of Scepter’s Sacrifice, and know that, once I start revising and editing my story, I will have much work to do.  I am using James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure to help me learn to write more professionally.   In Bell’s tenth chapter, he talks about Plotting Systems, and had two exercises, which I decided not to do.

You can see my answers to Part Nine.

01 consideringBell gives examples of writing systems, and offered two exercises to help writers come up with their own system.  I must have read those words, but I have no memory.  He makes an interesting statement, when he says:

There are more [Pansters] on the literary / character-drive side, and more [Plotters] on the commercial / plot – driven side.

I’m sure you already know that Pansters typically do little or no planning as they write.  They just sit down with a blank screen or piece of paper and an idea.  Then they write.  I do that when I write Micro Fiction, especially for Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers prompts.

Plotters plan out their novels.  Some come up with extensive and exhaustive outlines.  Some write as many as fifty pages on their novels.  I do something like that, and I will describe it below.

I spend more time on Scribophile than any other writing site, maybe than any other site at all.  Someone looking to improve their writing ability and get honest feedback could do far worse than that site.  And there is an interesting thing about it’s makeup.  Probably two-thirds of their members are female.  And, two-thirds are probably Pansters.  Are all females pansters?  Nope.  There is at least one who plots…me. Continue reading

Plotting To Be Scene – Part Nine

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Plotting To Be Scene – Part Nine

I am studying how to plot, and the relationship of plots to scenes.  I recently completed my first draft of Scepter’s Sacrifice, and know that, once I start revising and editing my story, I will have much work to do.  I am using James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure to help me learn to write more professionally.   In Bell’s ninth chapter, The Character Arc In Plot, he includes three exercises.

You can see my answers to Part Eight.

01 considering

EXERCISE ONE – Analyze a favorite novel or story that has a big change happening to the Lead. Underline passages where your Main Character is challenged in significant areas of her life. Put check marks next to those passages that show how their challenges are affecting character change.

I picked LM Montgomery’s Old Lady Lloyd. This short story, part of Chronicles of Avonlea, is 13,000 words long.

Miss Lloyd found herself challenged 23 times. As our story opens, she finds herself isolated and lives in abject poverty, hidden from her neighbors. Her isolation is self-inflicted, stemming from her rash temper in her youth which ended her only romantic possibility, one that she never mended. Her poverty arises because an unscrupulous cousin cheated her father of his fortune, and she is too proud to admit this to anyone.

Our inciting moment comes when she discovers her old flame’s daughter has come to live in her community. Moved by love, Miss Lloyd begins to secretly give her gifts which do not cost her anything, such as flowers and fruit. From there, she sacrifices from her meager income to become part of her church sewing circle that Silvia is also part of. Finally, she sells a cherished heirloom so Sylvia can have a party dress. Her final sacrifice occurs when she is so moved by Sylvia’s need for a scholarship, she is willing to beg her cousin to secretly give Sylvia a scholarship.

Continue reading

Twisted Spells

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Twisted Spells

Please accept my submission for Friday Fictioneers.

portal“Oops.”

Janet’s ears twitched.  Spinning, she gasped.  “Where are mom and dad?”

Gregor moved his lips.

“Stop.”  She grabbed his wand and fought her panic.  “I told you to buy their premium channel.  Why did you try your own portal for Jard’s Quidditch Match.  Look what happened.  Instead, you sent everyone.”  She could never come back to her favorite bistro.

“I didn’t—”

“I know you tried.”  Gregor had wanted to please her dad on his birthday.  “But…Hungary?  Mom will drag him to all their little shops.”

“I guess—”

“Yes, cancel Seeker’s Supper.  It’s goulash tonight.  And dad hates it.”

Plotting To Be Scene – Part Eight

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Plotting To Be Scene – Part Eight

I am studying how to plot, and the relationship of plots to scenes.  I recently completed my first draft of Scepter’s Sacrifice, and know that, once I start revising and editing my story, I will have much work to do.  I am using James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure to help me learn to write more professionally.   In Bell’s eighth chapter, Complex Plots, he includes three exercises.

You can see my answers to Part Seven.

01 consideringEXERCISE ONE – Make three columns: details, main characters, settings. Look for connection points between the columns. In some order, connect details with characters or places. Pick your strongest connections, and see if you can weave them into your plot as motifs(distinctive feature or dominant idea) or symbols.

When I read this exercise, I realized I hadn’t done well when writing my WIP. So, I set it aside and didn’t come back to it for several days. When I did, I had either grown enough courage to answer it, or I understood it better. I won’t insert my table here. Instead, I will explain my revelations.

Every element was there for me to answer Bell’s questions, but I had been too timid. So, there was no way they were going to make it into my story. I really didn’t know what my story meant, when I wrote it. And I missed some pretty obvious stuff.

My settings could become powerful players in my story. And, with some effort, my characters could use, own, or do things which symbolize their own lives. But, to make them work, I need to write them into my story with enough detail to make them stick, positively, in my reader’s mind.

Jaeni’s European Capital is alien to its continent, and represents Europe’s intent to remake North America. I could pick, as symbolic of this, how quickly trees grow, and how, annually, they mount drives to cut down unwanted trees in villages, roads and fields. Some of my characters would most strongly relate to their Capital (Christor, Alessandran, Sharshin, Shen Rekmon) Continue reading