Friday, October 29, 2010

one become two

Just finished dividing up the 19 chapters of House of Cuts--still 19 chapters for it and now have 15 chapters of the new Amy's Mother, was the working title for her story, but will actually be the Cup of Stone novel that I started long time ago!

What a mystery this writing is--obsession, really, a calling for sure.

Now need to write a new Plot Point Chart for House of Cuts--will work to get it finished first. Love the charts from Writer's Digest, Dec. 2006 "All Mapped Out," Daniel Steven, Dec, p. 46. You can go to this web page to order back issues--would be worth it to get these plot templates, in my view.

Write hard, die free.

Monday, October 25, 2010

knife in the heart

At the Moke Hill novel workshop, Lucy and Toni convinced me of what Verna had noted last spring. I have two novels in House of Cuts, not one. For years I've been trying to weave these two stories together and even though I got it to work for me, it didn't for most readers, except darling sister Jacki. Goes to show the best critics may not be your family!

I guess this is the jarring time you hear about when you have to toss out that first awful novel and start the next one. So, I'm going through all 19 chapters and slicing out the parts that belong to a literary novel, Amy's Mother for lack of a better title for now.

Then rewriting House of Cuts as a suspense thriller with edges of wacky humor.

A couple lines from a Mary Mackey poem pop into my mind, not sure of the punctuation, sorry:

Out of the one, two
Out of the still point, the multitude

Yikes and double yikes!!!!! Sigh, sit in the chair, and just keep going. Driven by some kind of mystery.

Friday, October 22, 2010


What makes a character "real" to you? This is our Eng 44B next question to create an action plan around. What do you think makes a character real?

Getting my 20 pages of House of Cuts all polished to take up to the Novel Writing Workshop this weekend. Have to make 8 copies for this in-depth event in a small group, meeting in a Victorian home (painted orange and green--how's that for near Halloween?). You read your work aloud while others follow along on their copies. Then Lucy Sanna and Antoinette May lead an hour-long critique session of your work.

Can't wait to see what I learn this time!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Useful cooperative inquiry

Wow--I got such great ideas from my fellow writers in the Eng. 44B class on how to increase the mood of suspense in our work. We are using a Cooperative Inquiry process, the same as I used with my dissertation group of women that produced Creating Juicy Tales (on now).

We came up with six ways to increase tension:

1. Fool the reader about the character’s consciousness state: Dreaming vs. reality.

2. Have the character wonder about another character’s desires and fear them.

3. Give access to the character’s worried thoughts and doubts over a secret.

4. Describe the character’s physical manifestations of worry.

5. Show the character make an assumption that the reader could see might be wrong.

6. Add in adverbs and adjectives used by professional writers in an effective suspense scene.

I used #s 2, 3, and 4 for a scene in Ch. 2, House of Cuts, that really kicked up the tension! Onward to prepare for next week's Novel Writer's Workshop in Moke Hill.

Great to see such a lot of Comments *:)


Sunday, October 10, 2010

organizing, reorganizing plot

Egads! Next novel I'm going to write a finely detailed plotline first! This will be about the third time I'm going over House of Cuts 320 pages again, charting all the scenes and their connections, linking to the overall story arc. Using filetab dividers for each chapter and its critiques, sorted into a file box.

Getting 20 pages of HofC ready to take to Moke Hill novel workshop soon--a useful two-day event for a small group in which we read out loud our 20 pages to about eight people and get their critiques, one of them being Antoinette May and the other Lucy Sanna

Got rich, helpful feedback from this process last Oct. and want to give it another go.

write hard, die free!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hot Spot Grid roll

On a roll now--up at 4:00 a.m. updating character files with photos of characters' typical gestures/stances plus a HotSpotGrid (copyright, mine--how do I get the copyright symbol from my keyboard?) plot outline to sharpen up the flow of the story, following Joseph Campbell's structure, similar to those offered in How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth by James N. Frey and The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, by Christopher Vogler. Will try out Lord Raglan's mythic structure for fun and comparison, too.

As Tom Robbins says in Even Cowgirls... WOW, WAHOO, WHOOPEE, WHY NOT, AND WHEW!