October 18 2013

Plot, Conflict, and Outline

I’ve been working on character, plotting, and setup for the first part of my novel (which has 4 parts: Part 1 is Setup (of course), Part 2 is Response, Part 3 is Attack, and Part 4 is Resolution, which I got from the book “Story Engineering” by Larry Brooks.


Part1: the Setup of my novel, which is called Blue Moon (that is definitely subject to change and probably will), should introduce the reader to hero and what is going on in the hero’s life (backstory, character empathy, what is at stake, what the hero needs in her life, what “trials and tribulations and opportunities” she is “facing before the arrival of the primary conflict” so that the reader cares about what is going on with the hero.

So my first 4-5 chapters are all about the Setup and right now I’m debating on whether to name my chapters or not. To name or not to name?  That is the question.

In chapter 1, the  reader finds out that my character Jynx was orphaned as a child and went to live with her fanatically religious aunt Avena when she was seven years old. Her parents were killed in a plane crash. She wanted to go live with her uncle Bourne who has spent time with her, but her aunt, whom she’s never met, gets custody of her and raises her. We get a glimpse of how much of a zealot the aunt is when Jynx receives a letter from a lawyer stating that requests her presence at her uncle’s funeral and for a reading of his will–she calls her aunt and finds out that the aunt refuses to go to her own brother’s funeral because he was a heathen. We learn that Jynx has psychic abilities and that she hid them from her aunt.

In chapter 2, Jynx moves into her uncle’s home and learns that her uncle, along with her mother and grandmother, were all psychics, which is why her aunt disowned them–they were sinners, psychic ability=sinner/satan. She figures out that her aunt raised her to keep her away from her uncle because her aunt thought that her uncle would corrupt her with his “demon” powers and that her aunt thought she might develop them, especially if she were around him. She wonders why her aunt didn’t have psychic abilities if they run in her family.  She also wonders why her uncle, who was a lawyer, didn’t fight for custody of her instead of allowing her to live with Avena.  Her uncle owned the bookstore in town, which is now Jynx’s, and Jynx wonders what to do with it. Should she sell it? Run it?

In chapter 3, Jynx meets a few of the town’s people, including the librarian Carita who was friends with Jynx’s mother. Carita is Jynx’s godmother and has a box of letters that she wrote to Jynx but that Avena returned to sender. Carita knows about the psychic abilities that run in Jynx’s family, and is willing to teach Jynx how to use and manage hers….

So I’m wondering if I should name my chapters…And if so, how do I decide what to name them? Something to think about and research as I continue to plot my novel for NaNoWriMo.

Category: NaNoWriMo, Outlining, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Resources | Comments Off on Plot, Conflict, and Outline
October 16 2013



Part of my routine each day is to check out my WP reader, FB, email, and the news. Yesterday (or maybe it was the day before) I found a post entitled 10 NaNoWriMo tips & tricks. In the post she gives a shout out to Rainy Moods and I’m now a fan and am hooked. Even my husband, who doesn’t write but is a musician, loves it. We fell asleep to the sound of rain last night and it wasn’t raining here.  I’m picky about listening to music when I write–most music distracts me so I often listen to classical, movie soundtracks (the songs that don’t having vocals), that kind of thing. Now I feel like I’ve found the perfect music for the mood I’ll need for this novel. Yesterday evening I was telling my daughter about the character I’ve chosen for my NaNo novel. Her name is Jynx and she’s a 25 year old graduate student. My daughter asked me what color her hair was, and I told her black or red, and she has gray eyes. My daughter said, “You should give her violet hair. Dark purple.” And you know what, she’s right. I thought about for a minute and nodded to my daughter. So now I’m on the hunt for a picture that comes close to what I feel like the character looks like. (Thank goodness for google, creative commons, and pinterest.)

One of the first things I do in the morning is make coffee. I normally drink coffee out of the Goofy cup my brother gave me. (This morning I’m having coffee with spiced pumpkin creamer–Oh, it’s so good!) I take a shower while the coffee is brewing–on a good morning my husband and I take our shower together, and come next week he’ll be back on the road so I won’t see him but on the weekends–FROWN! I open Word Press, Facebook, and my email account. I check all  of those. Then I either write a blog post or wait until later on in the day (some days I go straight to my novel).

Funny thing about routines is that once you get used to them it feels weird when you do something different. Lately I’ve been working on the outline for my NaNo novel instead of working on the current WIP and I’ve been reading Larry Brooks‘ book “Story Engineering.” For Camp NaNo in April, I read several books beforehand. My favorite Stephen King’sOn Writing,” Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem!” and “Ready, Set, Novel!” as well as quite a few others like “Creative Writing,” “Finding your Muse,” “Rock Your Plot” by Cathy Yardley, “Write Good or Die,” and “You’ve Got a Book in You.” Finding out what works for you when writing is important. I am more of a pantser than a plotter. Lately I’ve become a plotster because I’m determined to have less writer’s block, more writing time. I got stuck at the midpoint of my novel–not a good thing when you have a deadline.

So now, I’m working on getting my routine in order for NaNoWriMo. It’s getting closer and closer and I’d like to have my outline and character outlines finished before it starts.

October 13 2013

Random Musings on Cold Meds

I could write an ode to Mucinex DM, Tylenol and Ibuprofen, along with orange juice, V-8 Splash Pomegranate Blueberry,  soup, and my husband (we’ve been taking turns taking care of each other as we suffer through the flu/cold/sinus thing that has had us in her clutches all weekend), but instead I’ll just say I really HATE being sick. I feel so weak that sitting at the desk looking at the computer screen feels like manual labor, much less doing any actual writing, but I’m writing nonetheless.

I found quite a few blogs today that were posting about NaNoWriMo. Some are doing it, some aren’t. Some love it. Some are preparing for it, and some will be pantsing through it. I clicked that wonderful follow button for quite a few but I’ll have to go back tomorrow or Tuesday (once I’m feeling better) to read and (hopefully) follow more. As an aspiring author, a writer who was only published many, many moons ago in high school (too many moons ago to discuss), I feel a deep and abiding connection with the written word and love to read–yes, I’m a bookworm, a nerd, so when I find blogs I like I pounce on the follow button with enthusiasm.

Branding one’s self as an author/writer is ridiculous to me, but maybe that’s because I’m old school. I’m pretty sure that Stephen King didn’t brand himself before he became a famous writer, nor did Tolkien or C.S. Lewis, or Dean Koontz, or Anne Rice, or Nora Roberts, or….But now we’re at this place in our world where Twitter, FB, etc have taken over mass communication. I have a Twitter account, but hell if I really know how to use it. And once you’re on there and you follow people there are so many tweets I wouldn’t have time to read them all and still have time to FB, write on my blog, write my book, cook dinner, eat, clean, and exercise–there’s just not enough time in the day. (And what exactly are hash tags anyway?)

Hell, I remember when I was in high school having to write my research papers on a typewriter, no one I knew had personal computers in the early 80s. I took typing my freshmen year of high school. Typing, not keyboarding. And back then, with a manual typewriter, I could type 45 wpm with about 1/2 mistakes. Now I type 75wpm (or so) on a keyboard. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not adverse to technology, nor am I adverse to writers (or aspiring writers) like myself promoting ourselves. Getting our names out there. But honestly, do I really have to Tweet? (Can you tell I’m just not a big fan of Twitter?) Can’t I just FB, blog, and write my book?

Eventually I hope to finish my book and send it out… And I DO EXPECT rejection letters. I’m actually looking forward to them. It means I’m a real struggling writer, that I’m out there fulfilling my dream. And someone, somewhere, will read my manuscript and want to sign me up.

Now it’s time to take my achy, sniffly, fever ridden self to bed and watch some Netflix until it’s time for my husband and I to help each other cook dinner (we’re having red pepper and garlic tomato soup with mozzarella cheese, grilled ham and pepper-jack cheese sandwiches, a salad, and sweet tea for dinner (I’m all juiced out for now).

Category: Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing | Comments Off on Random Musings on Cold Meds