So yeah, here’s how my brain works. I have to be able to wrap my mind around an idea, a concept, a plotline, and in most cases in order to do that, I have to be able to “see” it in totality. I’m here to tell you that if your brain doesn’t work this way, it can be very limiting. Metaphorically speaking, even standing on top of the tallest building in an area of the world that is predominantly flat, you can only see so far. Same holds true for seeing story. Now, hold that thought for a moment.
In the Write or Consequences world I’ve entered, my first ice bucket dunking taught me one very valuable lesson – I need to set realistic goals based on my writing process. This, I think I did for round two, and I have every expectation, at this point, of succeeding with my second goal. That being said, is everything moving swimmingly along? That would be a big Nope. So what lesson is emerging as I methodically build my story in round two of our challenge group?
I’m a plotter need-ta-be. Picking up from the first paragraph, knowing how my brain works, I should fundamentally understand that for me to attain the best results in my writing, I need to see the whole picture. That means I need to plot. But plotting? Really? Eeewww. So boring. So left brain. So not fun. So I skip it. Hell, plenty of writers out there simply wing it and they manage to do a bang up job. Why not me?
Is there anything out there more perplexing that she who will not see? Or perhaps I should have said, she who stubbornly refuses to see? So, I’m wandering aimlessly through my story, hitting plot points willy-nilly, and ultimately wasting time and word count. Thank goodness for critique group, but lordy, I do make them earn their zero dollars and zero cents for reading my meandering stuff.
And so, to assist myself (and you, if you find the tool useful), I’m attaching a spreadsheet that lays out your story chapter by chapter, depending on your targeted total word count and by the approximate number of pages in your typical chapter. There are notations for major plot points as well as additional cells for adding notes for your particular story. What this spreadsheet does is help you get an overall view of your story. What it does not do is take away the joy of discovering your story as you go.
Lorinda Peake wrote her first ditty when she was ten on an English seashore while visiting her British grandmother. From then on, her family either acted in or were treated to plays, skits, or commercial spoofs. In school, she wrote poetry, fables and short stories.
Years later, she tossed down a particularly bad novel and thought, “I could do at least that well.” She’s been pursuing the elusive published novel ever since. Recently, she joined a group of fellow writers who decided to cajole, bully, encourage, and sometimes baby each other along towards the publishing goal by setting real and measurable writing objectives with “motivational” consequences for non-attainment.
Lorinda loves a good romance – all the more if it is wrapped in a great fantasy setting. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her husband of 34 years.