Tag Archives: Plotting

Some Saturday Ramblings

It feels like a “lost” week around here in a way. Monday was a holiday here (not that it matters much to me work-wise since I work when I have a deadline and take time off when I don’t, but there’s the not-minor matter of not having to get up with the kids in the morning as they get ready for school!)

Add to that the head cold I had for three days, which unfortunately came back yesterday and really, it feels like all I’ve done this week is loll around in the grip of cold medication that makes me drowsy.

Reading …

I did manage to get through a nice chunk of The Likeness, by Tana French. I’ve mentioned before that, for some reason, this novel hasn’t hooked me the way In The Woods did. I finally felt really engrossed at around page 189. I’m now very near the end, but (and it might just be because I’ve been under the weather) I don’t find myself racing through to see what happens. In fact, the book has sat on the coffee table, open to the page where I last left it, for the past two days.

I did much better with the audio version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – I’m getting close to the end, and I just started listening earlier this week. (It generally takes me longer to listen to an audiobook because I only listen when I’m exercising, cleaning the kitchen and for an hour before bed.)

While I’ve reread the first three Harry Potter books a few times, I realized as I was listening to this one that this is my first reread of it. There were several things I’d forgotten, and one thing I was pleased to rediscover was that (tiny spoiler here, for those of you who haven’t read this one or seen the movie), unlike the movie, it wasn’t Cho who ratted everyone out. I hadn’t realized that the movie had parted ways with the book there (which goes to show how much of the book I’d forgotten by the time I saw the movie!).

Writing …

I’d meant to spend this week doing up character sketch thingies for my NaNoWriMo novel, but never lifted even a finger in that direction. I did, however, find a very handy set of free Excel worksheets right before I came down with that head cold. I’ll only be using the character worksheet, but for those of you who like to plot first, The Novel Planning Excel Workbook might come in handy (you can see all the worksheets in the novel here, but you need to go here to download it).

When I was writing NANTUCKET, I ended up taking a file folder and writing down all my secondary characters in it, because I found myself wasting a lot of time trying to remember names, especially the names of the more minor characters. I think using the character worksheet will really be helpful.

Fitness Challenge

I haven’t done that well this week with the challenge, logging in only two miles, on the day when I was feeling better. I was supposed to do another 1.5 miles yesterday, but kept postponing it, and then that head cold came back again. I really should get on the treadmill today, but I’m still feeling tired.

Ah … discipline. Nope. I don’t have it, not for fitness, anyway!

The Food Blog

Earlier this week, I posted about our Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend; I also mentioned that I was hoping my husband would start blogging at our food blog, Muse in the Kitchen, because I have been doing a terrible job of keeping it up-to-date.

The thing is, while I do love to eat, it’s Ward who’s really passionate about the cooking and the recipes. He’ll be so thrilled about discovering a new technique that creates a much better result, while I’ll be like, “okay, that’s wonderful, is it okay if we dig in now?”

So guess what? He wrote his first post at Muse in the Kitchen the same day I wrote about our Thanksgiving dinner! You can check it out here: 30-Minute Homemade Pasta.

Since that first post, he’s also written several more posts. And today he told me he’s having a great time blogging! My job with the food blog now is very much like my job in the kitchen. During prep time, I play the role of sous chef; at the blog, I do a bit of reformatting.

Life feels pretty near perfect right now …

On Writing: Surprises

Today’s word count: 1214 words

NANTUCKET word count to date: 33,959

In keeping with my intention to make writing more of a priority, I sat down to write far earlier than I normally do. I finished before dinner, in fact. I started by deleting a couple of lines from the end of yesterday’s writing, and then plunging in from there.

A surprise showed up today, in the form of a new character. I’m not sure at all how he fits into the story, but he just showed up and he made sense where he showed up. As to how he might come into the story later, though, I’m not sure at all. I figured I might as well write him in and see where he takes me.

This is part of the reason why I like writing without a concrete outline. It’s kind of like reading a novel: I continue writing because I want to see what happens. With this book, because it’s a mystery, I kind of know what happens, in that I know who the murderer is, and I know why the murder was committed. But other than that, I don’t know what happens between here and there. I also don’t know how the paranormal comes into play in the story, which is kind of scary (for me as a writer, I mean) – since one of my main characters is all about the paranormal.

Actually, this whole not-knowing thing can be rather challenging. When I stopped working on this novel last November, at the end of NaNoWriMo, I had just written a scene that involved another murder. This second murder was a total surprise to me. I think this second murder is connected to the story. And if I was reading this novel rather than writing it, I’d assume it was the same murderer. The signs are all there. But the truth is, I don’t know. I don’t even know why it happened.

But I guess if it keeps me writing, just so I can find out for myself what happened, then I’m all for it.

For those of you who write, do you use an outline? A semi-outline? Or do you wing it, and go with the flow?  I’ve always liked Stephen King’s concept of story writing as simply digging out a fossil that’s already there – the idea that the story already exists, more or less fully formed, and the writer’s only job is to simply to use the tools at hand to dig it out of the ground.