I need to get Nita out the door, so I’m getting serious about it. Well, I was always serious about it, but now I’m REALLY serious about it. It has problems that I have to identify, which means analysis. Argh. So here’s my plan. (Yes, once again, you’re being subjected to me talking about my writing problems. Feel free to skip.)
Writing: Plot and Structure
Questionable: What’s the Difference Between Plot and Structure?
“Are plot and story structure the same? Is plot mostly driven by goals? Are twists necessary? How do you define plot?”
So I’m going to reorder your questions from simple to complicated.
“How do you define plot?”
Plot is the events of the story.
“”Are plot and story structure the same?”
No. Story structure is the framework, plot is the content. Continue reading
The Jennifer Crusie Method for Story Writing
RWA has a new writing series for new romance writers called from Pen to Paper, and I just did a phone interview for it with the wonderful Erin Novotny. She wanted to know my process (stop laughing, you loons, have some respect) so I wrote up a quick outline which I’m including below. I think the interview is mostly us laughing, so the outline is probably more coherent.
The Jennifer Crusie Method for Story Writing
(Not Efficient, Fast, or Logical; Not Really Recommended) Continue reading
Tropes, A Defense Of
So I fell down a black hole there for awhile (past two weeks, sorry about that) and survived on Diet Coke and Vernors and a LOT of romance novels. So now I have Thoughts. I wrote a whole post on “smirk,” and then realized I was just repeating myself–“Damn you, writers who don’t bother to know the precise meanings of words, get off of my
lawn Kindle!”–and nobody needs that. Then I started thinking about tropes.
A trope is “the use of figurative language, via word, phrase or an image, for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech.” (Thank you, Wikipedia.). That’s the definition I learned doing my lit degrees. But “The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.” And in fact, the Merriam Webster Thesaurus gives as equivalents “banality, bromide, chestnut, cliché, commonplace, groaner, homily,” and several more tsking equivalents.
I disagree. Continue reading
Plotting, a Whine
By now, it’s obvious to anybody who reads this blog that I am not a natural plotter. Some people think in plots. Those people would be Bob and Krissie. Normally these would be aim-for-them-when-I-drive people, but they are important to my life, so I just have to put up them. Meanwhile, I make tables and conflict boxes and mind-maps and act diagrams and scream a lot. Really, I just want to write people having snarky conversations; a reason for those conversations seems a lot to ask.
Take Lily and Anna, for example. I don’t think Lily is ever going to have a plot. At most, I’m guessing it might be a novella. It’s just a bunch of people I like sitting around eating food I like and flirting. There is nothing wrong with this as long as I don’t show it to anybody (well, except for you guys, you’ll read anything). So I really don’t think Lily is ever going to be a book. But Anna . . . Continue reading
Narrative Structure is up over on HWSWA
I still haven’t mastered the links to the old site. I should make Bob do that.
Also Bob and I are still fighting about omniscient translucent.
How Things Occupy Space Matters
I was reading a piece in the NYT about the painter Kerry James Marshall and read this quote from him:
“The picture plane is the site of every action,” Mr. Marshall said. . . . “How things occupy that space,” he added, “matters more than anything.” Continue reading
Lily Plot Notes: Here’s Where We Are Now
So eight weeks into this, Lily doesn’t have a plot, something you have all pointed out. And I don’t really want her to have a plot because then it won’t be play anymore. But even I am starting to be annoyed by how shapeless it all is. So I went back to my old standbys: conflict analysis and acts.
Twelve Days of Nita: Day One: Act Two Is A Mess
I’m very happy with Nita’s Act One. It’s 36,000 words which is 3,000 too many, but since it should be 1/3 of the book, that would make the finished book 108,000 words, and that’s within the normal contract requirement of 100,000, give or take 10% either way.
Then there’s Act Two, which is still a freaking mess even after I’ve been working on it. It’s been awhile since we talked about Nita, so here’s the rough outline:
Lily 7 1/2
Normally by now I’d have figured out what the hell was going on at the museum, but since this isn’t going to be a book, I can just keep noodling around. Why can’t you just noodle around for a book? Because one of the many reasons people read fiction is to get a tidier version of reality. A book that just meanders, listening to people talk, gets annoying very quickly. This stuff is starting to annoy, especially since every scene with Seb in it has the same damn dialogue–Structure Rule #47 You Cannot Arc What You Do Not Know–but I’m getting the impression that you’re reading these more as short stories than pieces of a novel, so that’s good.
Still, I am feeling the need to put some grit in the oyster, so to speak, so when a new character showed up out of nowhere, I noodled. Continue reading