Thursday, September 10, 2009


Recently, I've been writing six-sentence plots that covers all the major events of my book. I had one for my Christian novel, A Hollywood Miracle, which is currently stalled. I also had one for my romance, Any Woman, which is also stalled. For my trunk novel, I knew the ending up front.

When I wrote Starcaster, I just let the plot carry me along. With Forging a Legend, I had a plot to begin with, decided it didn't have enough oomph, and rewrote the whole thing--several times.

At this point, I'm wondering if I should bother forcing myself to write the six-sentence plot for East of Yesterday. So far, I'm letting the plot carry me away, but I'm a little nervous because I don't know where I'm going. But, such ambiguity seems to have helped me finish novels in the past. I end up rewriting them backwards, but it seems to work for me.

So I'm thinking I'm a panster, rather than a plotter.

I had some radical ideas today during a brainstorming session today, including the possible heartbreaking death of a major character. I also had a cool idea wherein the headings of my chapters will contain excerpts from my characters' travel journal.

But before I go any further, I'm going to take down my copy of Donald Maass's Writing the Break-Out Novel and peruse some things I've been thinking about. It's my favorite writing book because it give you so much to think about.

Which are your favorite writing books?


  1. I love STORY by Robert McKee. It's technically a screenwriting book, but it was the first craft book I read that when I got to the end, I wanted to turn back to page one and start again. It just made so much sense to me. Let me know what you think if you end up taking a look.

    BTW, the hummers are going bananas with the new feeders I put up. It's like hummingbird wars. They're so territorial!

  2. I LOVED that. Mixing up the nectar was like mixing a magic elixir, because it was a white powder that turned red when mixed with water.

  3. I liked the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook better than the original, which is odd, because I'm not a workbook kind of person. I just thought it did a better job of making you see how to use the ideas in your novel.

    My favorite writing book is Scene and Structure by Jack M. Bickham. It's the book I come back to again and again. Whenever I have a problem and don't know what it is, I can almost guarantee that the answer is in this book.

  4. I think that some of my best stories have started without a plot. I just figured out where they were going as I went along. However, it is scary to have at best a vague idea of where I might be headed. {Smile}

    As for writing books, I don't really know know which ones I like best. I'm glad you found one that works so well for you. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  5. SAVE THE CAT! by Blake Snyder is my favorite and it's really just a bare bones of the Mythic Structure. Mr. Snyder recently and suddenly passed away too, very sad.

    I'm a runaway pantster. I create the whole story in my head because I have so few minutes in the day to sit at a computer. Then, I sort it all out using SAVE THE CAT! and the Mythic Structure, because I'm so bad at structuring. And finally I write it down and then revise the dickens out of it.

    It's a lot of work. I hope you've got plenty of chocolate and coffee, Tia. Sounds to me like you adapt to the needs of each story and I think that's good.

  6. After reading about it on your blog, I've already downloaded some of the stuff Snyder had on his site. I'm not sure if East of Yesterday will fit into that structure, but I'll take another look at it.

    I don't write in my head very far in advance. Sometimes I have the ending in mind, but right now, I only have some dim possibilities. I do have a great conflict warming up between Mike and Felix, my gangster.

    Regarding the chocolate--I'm starting Weight Watchers on Tuesday. I've had too much chocolate already!

    And thanks!


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