Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Plot by any other name

For some reason when I thought about the need to plot my current project I froze up. I tried several times to write what I expected to happen in the first chapter and the next and the next, but I never got beyond chapter three. But as I was writing through the first couple of pages of chapter two, I realized I needed to have some idea of what was going to happen next and on which days of the week.

I whipped out a lined notebook page and a pen to start writing a timeline for the story. I wrote down the first day my story begins (Thursday) and what happened in the AM and the PM. Then I wrote the next day, and the next. Before I knew it, I had pages and pages filled with scene notes and bits of dialogue. Character background details and a list of required research grew from the scenes as I wrote freely on the lined pages, my handwriting resembling chicken scratch when the ideas flowed the fastest. I gathered so many pages that I had to label them using T1, T2, T3 for the timeline pages. 1, 2, 3 for the scenes going directly in the book and A, B, C for the pages describing the escalating stakes/conflict.

Already today, the ideas are awake and flowing on the pages. As I pedaled my stationary bike this morning, I finished 5 handwritten pages of scene notes and dialogue and questions to be answered in the context of the story.

Of course, once the muse is awaken, she loves to talk to me in the shower. I had to throw a towel around myself quickly and scribble down the dialogue that swirled in my brain before throwing on my clothes and getting the boys to the bus stop on time.

Whew! Who knew that a simple 'timeline' was going to generate so much writing frenzy?

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