It’s 100 degrees here. I got up early and got my run in and then went and rode the horses until about ten. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I sweated my boobs right off. They are survived by me and my husband, and they will be so missed by both of us.
One thing that I have gained through all this sweating is
acne. Yay! In fact, I have developed an
enormous cauldron of a pimple since I started running in the heat. Husband told
me that it looked like a million baby spiders were going to pop out of my neck.
I looked in the mirror and said he was crazy. It looks much more like it’s
about to grow eyes and teeth and start telling me to kill people.
I finished Ch 2 of Cathy Yardley’s book Rock Your Plot. This is not a long book, but it’s pretty information-dense, so I’ve been taking my time to make sure I really absorb the lessons and do all the exercises. This chapter helps writers to create both a compelling plot and fleshed-out main characters via the “Goal-Motivation-Conflict” method.
- Goal: Characters should have both internal and external goals. If they conflict with each other, it ratchets up the tension in the story.
- Motivation: The characters’ why. You can get away with almost anything plot-wise if you provide the readers with a believable enough why.
- Conflict: The conflict must relate to the goal and the writer must be able to escalate the conflict.
I mean, this seems like ‘duh’ stuff, right? But I’m appreciating the framework she is giving me. Doing all this leg work in advance is allowing me to build a system around a piece of longer fiction. I’ve had some good success with much shorter, character-driven pieces – I was published in a Hugo-award winning magazine a few years ago before I gave up on writing. But I could never figure out why every single novel I tried to write would be abandoned after five or six chapters.
So, this is positive! I’m excited to move forward, but I’m tempering myself. I want to finish reading this book first, and apply its lessons to the plot bunny I’ve been snuggling for the last three years.
What I’m reading right now:
Cathy Yardley’s Rock Your Plot
Rachel Aaron’s 2,000 to 10,000: How to write faster, write better, and write more of what you love.
Screw pants. I’ve decided I’m done wearing them for the day. No more pants.
I am Queen NoPants.
I’m Lily. I’m borderline fetishistic about my niche interests. I enjoy gluing things to my coffee table. I make manic, masking-tape animals while watching movies because I just can’t. sit still. that long. I’m a soft-touch for animals. I love writing, but couldn’t do it full time. I’m obsessed with my husband and his luscious butt. I’m a dedicated vegetarian and locavore. I ride horsies and like math. I pump myself up in the mirror before interacting with people who make me nervous. I’m obsessed with smut. I’m a hedonist. I’m a little hungover.
I knew this guy in high school named Jordan. He was the nicest guy ever. He was really into the environment and had a whole slew of shirts featuring endangered species on them.
Jordan liked to “upcycle” old jeans into these godawful book bags and give them to friends. We all carried them.
He loved animals and had a cat, an iguana named Isolde who lived on an enormous branch that Jordan had set up like a tree in his bedroom, multiple gerbils, ferrets, etc. He had a fish he was convinced was evil because it ate all of his other fish and then refused to die. That fish lived from third grade until he graduated from high school.
His mother was a kindergarten teacher who was teaching her students about silk and was breeding silk moths on their dining room table. Their bodies were too fat to fly, so they’d flutter and flop around on dozens of empty egg cartons, breeding and dying, breeding and dying. In a desperate attempt to escape the macabre cycle, some would flutter to the floor and flop along the carpet, using their pitifully small wings to drag their swollen bodies along behind them. We’d find them in every room of his house.
Jordan and I would watch Marth Stewart together after school every day.
We were in at least five school plays together. He always got the lead male role, and I was always cast as the crazy old lady character – cats optional.
I really loved this guy. He was that rare guy who was incredibly popular because he was so nice.
I just got word he passed away suddenly from a drug overdose.
The world is both lovely and awful. 😦
You probably guessed that whole tortured metaphor in my last blog post about being a runner who trips on nothing was inspired by me. Tripping on nothing. Yesterday. I’ve got massively scraped up hands, and an ooey-gooey knee, but some flash of female instinct had me rolling to protect my face, so at least I was spared a scabby chin. This time.
Finished my run anyway, though.
This morning, I got up early and read the first chapter of Cathy Yardley’s book Rock Your Plot. Came away with some good insights, the most important of which (for me anyway), is the difference between a premise and a “neat idea.” A premise identifies the main character, what they care about, and the obstacles in the way. A “neat idea” could be narrated by that voiceover guy…
“IN A WORLD WHERE SCABS ARE INCREDIBLY SEXUALLY ATTRACTIVE…”
Came up with that one this morning. Out of the blue! No idea where it came from.
What I’m currently reading:
Rock Your Plot, by Cathy Yardley
The power of incremental gains
I am a strong believer in stupid persistence. I chase patience, hard work, and incremental gains. Bad at math? Do more math. Kill your garden? Replant and begin again. Slow runner? Well, you might not get much faster, but run anyway because it’s good for you. I should know. I’m the slow plodder, that naturally ungifted athlete who is preternaturally good at tripping on nothing, but who eventually lumps across the finish line. Slow, slow, slow, but I made it, so please pull the car around because I don’t think I can walk to the refreshment tent after this.
I’m not sure if it’s a strength or a flaw, but there’s a
point at which it morphs from stupid persistence to just stupid, and I’m well
acquainted with it.
I think I’m going to apply it to writing.
For four or five years, I flirted with writing fiction, but
I was younger and less pig-headed then.
Now I’ve learned how to build and apply systems, and by golly, that’s
what I’m going to do. Build and apply a
system to learn to be a better writer.
Here we go!
- Start a blog to track progress.
- Order several well-respected books on writing and start working my way through them.
- Start reading specifically in the genre I wish to write to find out what’s currently in demand in the market.
What I’m reading now:
–> The Overstory, by Richard Powers
–> Rock Your Plot, by Cathy Yardley