With a writing buddy, I am taking an online course (at the very useful Mediabistro site) on writing the YA novel, taught by Claudia Gable. It’s been immersive and challenging, as all of us have to not only generate our outline, chapter breakdown and weekly pages, but comment on our fellow students’ work as well. The usual jitters about writing and sharing the work are a part of this online class, just as they would be if we were all meeting together in a room for a few hours once a week. It’s taken me a few weeks to settle in, and with the vast perspective this allows I begin to see how outlining the plot can help me create a stronger first draft. Okay, create a complete first draft. Oh, that shaggy, fuzzy middle third of each book! It has been my downfall. I am inspired by the power of plotting, and aside from Claudia’s wise and subtle guidance I have found a lot of help out there. This week two guiding blog posts have landed in my mailbox.
Kristen Lamb, social media maven and vortex of info posted a killer piece on Plot. It is a brimming cup of awesome sauce and if you are making stories of any kind it would behoove you to read Hooking the Reader and Never Letting Go. Kristen is very stern about setting stakes and identifying the conflict in every scene you write. Want to write a one-sentence log-line for your novel? She’s your girl.
Over at Writer Unboxed an interview by Jan O’Hara with author Elizabeth Loupas also delves into conflict and its role in plot. I liked the idea of creating discomfort to motivate characters, and using opposition to create action and define characters. I know – this is a duh moment. Of course you need opposition. Of course you need conflict. I’m just sayin’ – sometimes this stuff is a news flash.
And for your third wish, I tap you lovingly with my sparkly wand and bestow upon you this interview with Debbie Macomber, she of the many books, romantic and otherwise, courtesy of Author Magazine. They send out a terrific newsletter by the way. Debbie has written at least a jillion books, engaging stories all. She describes herself as a story teller, but one who didn’t learn to read until the age of ten because of dyslexia. Listen to her tell the story of her writerly beginnings, of her first Golden Book checked out from the library in Spokane (guess who the librarian was?), of her determination to be a writer, and the experience she had in a hospital that serves as a metaphor for the challenges each writer must overcome on the road to being an author. Thats right, its:
Have an absolutely inspired Wednesday.