Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Time


During this time for spring, the weather patterns dart, rather than flow, across the charts. I love this time of year, because it can be so unpredictable.

Stunning days of sunshine, wind howling until I’m sure I’ll go crazy, and low pressure systems that drop rain or snow with the merest sneeze of mother nature all work together to create spring weather.


Ben snapped this picture a couple of mornings ago. Less than fifteen minutes later, the sun rose lighting up a spectacular morning. We rejoiced the time of spring all the way to Val’s ranch.



But the best part of this time of this particular spring is the that I am studying a book on plot development. The book amazes me because no matter how much talent you may or may not have, you can learn techniques of writing that will improve your story and the way you write it while saving a lot of time and tears.

Early on I had some idea of what my ending should be, but then I changed the setting and time period and my old ending wasn’t going to work for that. I sort of developed a new ending and thought I would work out the details as I wrote along. Well, nearly halfway through the novel I realized I was rambling and meandering along, just the way I did with my first attempt at writing a novel several years ago. What I ended up back then was a massive pile of crap. I wanted to avoid that happening again, so I ordered and am now studying the book on plot development.

I also pulled out a similar book my mother had from years ago and I finally figured out why I had actually learned next-to-nothing in all the classes I took in college way-back-when. They didn’t have good material, really, for teaching that gave solid, useful techniques for actually accomplishing what they were “teaching” students about writing. They were saying “show, don’t tell,” but they were ‘telling’ what to do without ‘showing’ the way to do it.

Okay, I’m rambling again. But what I’m getting at is that I’m actually learning something and I’m developing a solid plot as I am making my way through the book. In doing so, I have also come up with a very exciting ending, the ending I really want. And I now know that I have to condense what I have already written into about half of what it is, because what I have so far is only a quarter of the plot instead of half of it. I haven’t crossed over the threshold into what should be happening a quarter of the way through and in this modern era a first novel  of two hundred thousand words would not get even a polite, silent smile from an editor.

The moral of this story is that if you want to write a book without wasting a lot of time and energy by churning out a pile of post-digestive drivel, study plot development and work on developing your plot before you begin writing. If you’re the ‘no-outline’ style of writer, then you don’t have to create an outline, but believe me, it will save you a lot of time and heartache (the heartache of having to throw away at least half of your work when you edit or get edited) if you work extensively on developing the plot first.

I’d say, “Wish me luck!” But now I know that luck has nothing to do with any aspect of the writing process, nor does faith or hope or prayer. It all comes to buckling down and doing the work, so I say, instead, “Keep reminding me of that fact.”

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