Plotting for Success
with Linda Joy Singleton
*** Topic for #Kidlit: "Plotting for Success" workshop starts on the hour....
Verla: Hi, everyone,
*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to "Plotting for Success" workshop is now in progress....
Verla: For those who haven't been to a workshop before, we will not say Hello's or Goodbye's to anyone during the workshop. If you must leave, don't say you are going, just quietly slip out.
Verla: Please don't talk to each other (except via private messages) but feel free to join into the workshop discussion...ask questions...make comments...all input that is "on topic" is encouraged and welcome.
Verla: Okay....Plotting for Success Workshop is now in Session...Linda, would you tell us briefly about you and your publishing history and then begin, please?
_LindaJoy: leaving the introduction to me, huh? (g)
NOTE: (g) = grin
_LindaJoy: Okay...I've had around 20 books published, most of them middle-grade
_LindaJoy: I enjoy plotting, although mostly I have a "feel" for what happens next, not written rules
Verla: And that is an IMPRESSIVE number of books to your credit, LindaJoy!
_LindaJoy: So I'll toss out some of my ideas on plotting and you all can reply or ask questions
Verla: Good. I don't like hard and fast rules...
_LindaJoy: Okay--years ago I went to a screen writing workshop and since then I've plotted using the basic method of beginning, middle, and end
_LindaJoy: It sounds really simple, but for some reason just seeing a book in three separate parts makes it comes together
_LindaJoy: And of course, each part has it's own rise and fall of action that can often be plotted in 3 parts as well
_LindaJoy: Questions yet? (I know this is SO basic so far)
dorii: I'd love to see a simple example
Verla: So when you are starting to plot a story, you first think of how and where you want the story to begin...then think of what might happen in the middle and where it will end up/how you will close the story?
_LindaJoy: yeah--which is really basic, but just thinking it through can help plot the whole book
Verla: Just those three things to begin with...but what's this three parts to each of the three parts thing? This is something new, Linda
_LindaJoy: Like for my last Cheer Squad book (I'll use that as an example)
Verla: Good. An example I can usually understand.
_LindaJoy: That book is actually written in 3 parts;
_LindaJoy: tryouts/camp/and camp competitions
_LindaJoy: The tryouts were the beginning--you had to know which girls were going to camp
_LindaJoy: But during that Part One, there was quite a drama going on
_LindaJoy: So the actual part one had the rise and fall of action of finding out who would make the squad
_LindaJoy: There's no definite rule about how many scenes or action, but I used to plot each chapter in three scenes
_LindaJoy: Then the second part was arriving at camp, where a mystery needed to be solved, and the action mounted as well as the problems
Verla: Each chapter has three scenes in it? I thought one scene per chapter?
A-Suen: threes are helpful...very Western
_LindaJoy: Well...there are NO rules, but I used to write with 3 scenes per chapter
Verla: Ah ha.
A-Suen: a mini story arc in each chapter?
Verla: doesn't that make the chapters rather long?
Verla: My chapters have one scene per chapter and most of them run 3-5 pages. Is that too short?
_LindaJoy: Chapters used to be LONGER, so it fit to have three scenes, but NOW (since Goosebumps) I only put one or two scenes per chapter
Verla: Ah ha!
A-Suen: a small crises resolved in each one?
_LindaJoy: Yes, Anastasia!
Verla: Each scene has some small crisis, eh?
_LindaJoy: If not a crisis, Verla, at least some question or new trouble
Verla: Right. Thank you, Linda
_LindaJoy: I end each chapter with a cliff-hanger...sometimes just a question to be answered
_LindaJoy: Although in a recent book of mine I literally had the car headed for the cliff at the end of chapter one
A-Suen: they say kids like to see that - small resolutions building up to bigger ones
_LindaJoy: right, A-Suen
Lawhee: Since each scene must move the story along, a small crisis or revelation ?
_LindaJoy: Keep the story moving...always. More important now
_LindaJoy: Just a few years ago I would have said there are rules for juvenile fiction--like 3 scenes per chapter, etc., but more unusual styles are being published now
_LindaJoy: Just to finish the Cheer comparision--I knew the ending was going to end with a competition, bringing all the problems and mystery to an end--and I knew the ending line ahead of time
Verla: The thought of "subplots" always terrified me.
_LindaJoy: I'll touch on subplots in a minute
A-Suen: how do you decide which will be your main character?
Verla: I could think of a simple story line (like I use in picture books...) but a complete novel always felt too overwhelming
_LindaJoy: And a simple story line is HARD for me (g)
A-Suen: oh my! :)
Verla: Hmmm. Obviously, a "learned" skill....
_LindaJoy: I read SO much, I write with a feel for what the action should do next. A jump-start opening is important.
Verla: Start with the action, right?
Verla: Often in the middle of an exciting scene?
A-Suen: in media res
Verla: What is "in media res," A-Suen?
A-Suen: in the middle of the action (Latin or Greek again, Verla - sorry!)
_LindaJoy: When writing for a middle-grade audience, you definitely want to start with action
_LindaJoy: I often start with dialogue
A-Suen: a good hook - to keep them reading
_LindaJoy: So what I do is have the action, but added tags or little bits of surroundings
_LindaJoy: But you have the complication of introducing the characters at the same time but keeping the action going
A-Suen: so is the first characater you mention, your main character?
_LindaJoy: Yes, A-Suen
_LindaJoy: I don't usually start in the middle of action, but just as it's beginning
_LindaJoy: But as I said before, there are NO definite rules
_LindaJoy: In fact, just when I think I have a "rule" figured out, I read something that's totally different
Lawhee: Great writing breaks lots of rules!
_LindaJoy: A challenge of starting a mid-grade novel is keeping the action and also setting the scene
_LindaJoy: And while you're having excitement at the beginning, it needs to tie in with the entire story
A-Suen: so there would be no flashbacks this way - if you start at the beginning
_LindaJoy: I do NOT use flashbacks
_LindaJoy: Although they work well in some stories
A-Suen: are they too young?
Verla: Hmmm. It is okay though, in moderation, then?
A-Suen: you can't use them with the little kids - flashbacks are too hard for them to understand
_LindaJoy: (I wouldn't A-Suen...flashbacks are tricky)
LindaSm: Have we gotten to muddlesome middles yet?
Verla: not yet, lin
A-Suen: we're all stuck there...muddling!
_LindaJoy: So don't just have a cliffhanger opening to get attention UNLESS it's important to the plot of the entire book
_LindaJoy: muddling in the middle...that ALWAYS happens
LindaSm: Otherwise you do lose steam...so true
LindaSm: I'm glad you feel that way too, LindaJoy
Verla: Hmmm. So you start with something at the beginning of the story, that is going to be important at the end of the book.
_LindaJoy: Yes. Try to have whatever happens at the beginning tie up with the ending--going full circle
LindaSm: yes, so there's satisfaction there
Verla: I think I understand. Some of my favorite stories are those where the ending almost "mirrors" the beginning...but with important changes in the character and/or situation
A-Suen: the problem that needs resolving should be on your opening page
LindaSm: I agree A-suen
_LindaJoy: For instance, I'm writing a story about a girl and missing ducks, but the girl has a bad foot and never wears sandals or goes barefoot
_LindaJoy: The basic plot of the story is the girl solving the mystery of the missing ducks -- so the opening line is "The baby ducks are missing!"
A-Suen: so then you have to KNOW MORE
_LindaJoy: The plot now goes on with investigation and clues, but the ending will tie into the subplot of the bad foot
LindaSm: and right away you're swept in
_LindaJoy: and the ending line will have her taking off her shoes and going barefoot in the water
LindaSm: This is a midgrade, Linda?
_LindaJoy: (Actually this is a young reader--kind of hard for me to write this short)
A-Suen: how do you decide on the subplots?
LindaSm: I was just about to ask the same thing, A Suen
_LindaJoy: Subplots...I honestly was totally confused by that when I first started writing
LindaSm: an underlying theme
_LindaJoy: I remember getting rejections that said my subplots weren't strong enough
_LindaJoy: But now the way I do it is to ask each character what they want
LindaSm: I'm not sure if I have one...or too many!
_LindaJoy: Whatever the main character wants, underneath the surface problem, is the subplot
A-Suen: do they come out and say it, or do you allude to it?
_LindaJoy: I often have TOO many subplots now--an editor even once teasingly called me the "Queen of Subplots"
LindaSm: Thanks Linda...that's such an easy way to put it
SallyA: You're saying subplotS - more than one?
_LindaJoy: I usually allude to it in the main character's thoughts
A-Suen: okay, thanks
LindaSm: It's easier in first person, don't you think/
Verla: "ask each character what they want." Hmmmm. And how many characters do most of your books have, LindaJoy?
_LindaJoy: Okay--in the Cheer books, there were four main girls
A-Suen: you can use dialogue, too
_LindaJoy: So in each book, each girl had a subplot...something she wanted
LindaSm: and at the end, are all of these lessor problems resolved?
_LindaJoy: But in MY SISTER THE GHOST series, there were two-three main girls and each one of them had a personal challenge (like being afraid, being a bully, being a ghost)
A-Suen: do you introduce these subplots right away?
_LindaJoy: I only introduce the MAIN subplot right away, but if there's room in the action, I hint at the other plots
A-Suen: you tease it out...
_LindaJoy: yes, A-Suen...tease it out (g)
_LindaJoy: But as for basic plotting...always keep the ONE main plot in your mind as you write--put it on a post-it and remember it always
Verla: Hmmm. That keeps the book "on track" then.
Lawhee: Is this natural for you, or did you have to train yourself to write this way?
_LindaJoy: I think part of "muddling in the middle" is losing track of the book's problem
LindaSm: It keeps you from tangents
_LindaJoy: So when in doubt about what the next scene will be, look at the MAIN plot, plus each subplot
LindaSm: yes...or going off East when you need to be going West
Verla: Here are two questions you missed answering, LindaJoy...
Verla: LindaSm: and at the end, are all of these lessor problems resolved?
Verla: A-Suen: do you introduce these subplots right away?
_LindaJoy: I've been going to writing workshops for 12 years now but I read a lot, so plotting feels natural
LindaSm: How nice, Linda...the first one is hardest...I hope
_LindaJoy: Yes--All lessor problems resolved, or at least addressed
A-Suen: tie up loose ends, I guess
Verla: and I think you answered the second one...you hint at them right away
_LindaJoy: because of all my romance writing "training" I also tend to pit characters against each other to move my plotting
LindaSm: Linda...do you think you have to write on a YA or midgrade every night to keep your thoughts on track?
NOTE: YA = Young Adult novel
_LindaJoy: not usually...but there are NO rules
_LindaJoy: no, LinS ... I think you can put it down and pick it up at a later time
LindaSm: Thats a relief Linda
_LindaJoy: I tend to reread what I've written previously to jumpstart my writing for the day, anyway
_LindaJoy: In fact, if you let a story simmer for a while, and come back to it, you might have some new ideas
Verla: Yikes. I'm glad you said THAT, LindaJoy, because I started my novel 10 years ago...and just finally picked it up to finish it!
LindaSm: You have me beat Verla! I'm worried about a few weeks!
Verla: Yes, but YOUR book has a contract on it, lin, so you HAVE to finish it.
LindaSm: Thats right , Verla!
LindaSm: I'd forgotten that
_LindaJoy: But the ONE thing I do is have a synopsis written to keep me on track
A-Suen: does each character get a chapter?
Verla: Do you mean via Viewpoint, A-suen?
A-Suen: yes Verla- alternating viewpoints in alternating chapters - I've seen some books done that way, and wondered how they decided to do it
_LindaJoy: A-Suen, I am currently writing some alternating chapter books, but the plotting isn't different from my other books
LindaSm: The Color Of Water is a good example of alternating viewpoints that work very well
Verla: The book I'm working on has alternating viewpoints in alternating chapters between two characters, A-Suen
_LindaJoy: For an alternating chapter book, you plot for each main character, weaving the action together
A-Suen: how do you keep track of it all? do you write a synopsis first? or just "discover" the plot as you go?
_LindaJoy: I always write down ideas and as the story progresses, usually after a few chapters, I write an outline
LindaSm: I'm discovering A-Suen...with a main plot in my head
Verla: Hmmm. I wrote my plot line first then the chapters. But some have changed as the book progressed.
_LindaJoy: If I'm submitting the story on speculation, I write a detailed synopsis--which is SO helpful to use
LindaSm: Do you adhere to your chapter by chapter outline, Linda?
A-Suen: and you write this in paragraph form? or do you use index cards to move around on the floor?
_LindaJoy: Plotting with a synopsis is like buying a picture frame, and then filling it in with bits & pieces of pictures to make a collage
LindaSm: Do you do that with picture books, A-Suen?
_LindaJoy: Having that frame really helps keep everything together, but the pictures ARE the story
_LindaJoy: And no I do NOT stick to my outline...usually come up with better ideas as I go along
Verla: Interesting idea, that picture collage idea, LindaJoy
_LindaJoy: (yeah, that did sound good, huh?) <g>
A-Suen: I use a storyboard to write picture books Linda - I plot EVERYTHING before I write
NOTE: lol or LOL = Laughing Out Loud
_LindaJoy: That's interesting, A-Suen...picture books are plotted differently
Verla: Oh...I wondered, A-Suen...
_LindaJoy: You think in images and scenes, not blow-by-blow action
Verla: They have much simpler story lines, A-Suen!
A-Suen: yes - I plot all the picture images i want to see
Verla: Wow. Another good description, LindaJoy
_LindaJoy: I admire that, A-Suen...picture books don't come easily to me
LindaSm: You put a lot into them, A-Suen...more than I...I think that's nice
_LindaJoy: But middle-grade is logical and easy for me to plot
LindaSm: Because of a simpler plot?
_LindaJoy: middle-grade (for me anyway) is more linear...something happens, something happens worse and there's trouble, end with a solution to all problems
LindaSm: Almost like a sitcom is plotted
_LindaJoy: I think I am personally influenced greatly by sit-coms
A-Suen: and you weave these lines together..like plaits (Verla!)
_LindaJoy: plaits! I like that! plots=plaits
_LindaJoy: Some tips for plot ideas would be to watch kids and steal habits or experiences from them
Verla writes this down...LindaJoy says to hang around kids and steal from them...
LindaSm: haha Verla
_LindaJoy: In fact, I think I see my scenes like TV sitcomes
A-Suen: so you see the pictures too
LindaSm: I never watch them...maybe I should!
_LindaJoy: LinS--maybe you don't think you are watching them, but you must be learning from them
Verla: You HAVE to watch kids, Lin...you have 8 of them at home of your own!
_LindaJoy: (good point, Verla)
_Enchanted: LindaJ-since you write middle grades, what age group do your characters fall in?
_LindaJoy: My characters range from 11-14
_LindaJoy: I prefer age 12 because it's borderline middle-grade to almost young adult
_Enchanted: Always a bit older than the reader, isn't that the rule of thumb?
_LindaJoy: yes, Enchanted
_LindaJoy: And the biggest readers for mid-grade are grades 3-6
LindaSm: WE just don't have simple plots around here, Verla
A-Suen: older is better, they don't like to read about "Babies"
_LindaJoy: Another thing about plots, be sure you have one when you start a book
_LindaJoy: Like there's a story here locally about a boy raising money to put some bears in a zoo
_LindaJoy: I wrote this down as an idea, but have decided not to write it
LindaSm: Linda, my editor said if I was going to write YA...make SURE it's YA, not midgrade. She said my voice is YA...but I wondered what she meant...sex, drugs? _LindaJoy: LinS--you do not have to write about sex & drugs, but real teens accept those things in their knowledge or experience
SallyA: Phew! had me worried for a minute
LindaSm: Do you think there is a fine line between older midgrade and YA?
_Enchanted: Cars for transportation as opposed to bikes, etc.
A-Suen: why not, Linda Joy?
_LindaJoy: yes, LinS...some mid-grades have VERY mature tones
LindaSm: That may be what the editor was talking about
Lawhee: i THINK SUBJECT MATTER CONSTItutes midgrade or YA
LindaSm: But sex and drugs, or any other harder core stuff just didn't fit with what I was writing
_LindaJoy: subject matter AND tone, Lisa
_LindaJoy: In fact, YA tone is very offbeat these days or very clipped & serious
Lawhee: Like , The Giver was MG but I wouldn't let my youngest read it yet
NOTE: MG = MidGrade
_LindaJoy: It's TONE that matters most, LinS
LindaSm: yes, tone
LindaSm: I think I have the tone
LindaSm: That's good to know
_LindaJoy: And the other difference between mid-grade and YA is irony/sarcasm/skepticism
Verla: I think the difference between Midgrade and YA is several things. Age of main character. Situations are more mature ... dating/ relationships, etc vs School problems for instance.
_LindaJoy: mid-grades are more full of hope, but the YA's are questioning and often cynical
LindaSm: But girls in seventh grade LOVE to read about these "older" situations, Verla
_LindaJoy: The 7th graders ARE reading YA
LindaSm: Thats it! Thanks Linda
_LindaJoy: But some might still read mid-grade (7th grade)
_LindaJoy: I think I've veered off plot some--are there specific plot questions?
Verla: Do you play the "What If" game a lot to think up new plot ideas, LindaJoy?
Verla: I do that a lot with picture books
_LindaJoy: Not really...ideas just attack me. I have to run from some of them, just filing them away.
_LindaJoy: (Unfortunately, editors have not been attacking me lately...sigh)
LindaSm: Is the peak in the middle of the book?? The biggy..then a slower climb down to the end?
Verla: Oh...GOOD question, Lin!
_LindaJoy: There are some great how-to books that will tell exactly about the wave of action in plotting
_LindaJoy: I kind of "feel" it out myself...but basically, I jumpstart with something interesting or exciting
A-Suen: peak at the end
LindaSm: Is it worth it? The books? Or would I think...oh, God,..I already blew it
Verla: Where do YOU put the climax in your books, LindaJoy? The last chapter? Next to the last?
LindaSm: I would think it depends, huh?
_LindaJoy: then there's some relax time to get to know the characters, but the action continues, getting harder and harder, and the biggest peak right before the end
LindaSm: How far from the end?
_LindaJoy: The second to the last chapter
LindaSm: Do you drop off quickly?
A-Suen: the you tie it up and it's over
Verla: Okay...Climax then the last wind-up chapter
_LindaJoy: yes--once it's solved, I usually only have one or two short scenes
Verla: How many chapters are usually in your books?
LindaSm: and word count for mid and YA
_LindaJoy: Usually while I'm writing the book or plotting, I'll realize what the last lines should be -- when this happens, write them down immediately
_LindaJoy: There are no formulas for chapters anymore
LindaSm: I love last lines in a book...i always read them first
LindaSm: I love endings
_LindaJoy: By the time I ended the CHEER series, I think I was up to 30 SHORT chapters
LindaSm: 20,000 words?
_LindaJoy: 30-35,000 words
Verla: That would normally be a midgrade, right, LindaJoy?
A-Suen: so many words! it boggles the mind
_LindaJoy: But there are some shorter YA with just about 25,000 words
_LindaJoy: midgrades & YA can both have varying word counts
Verla: But my YA is only going to have 20,000 or so words ... I hope that isn't going to be too short...
_LindaJoy: In fact, YA's often are pint-sized, a quick journey
LindaSm: No Verla...you gotta stick with me...35,000 or bust
Verla: (Since I have no bust to speak of, I do NOT have to "stick with you" Lin.)
LindaSm: I have no bust either
LindaSm: we'll be great together
_LindaJoy: I DO!!! waving my hands!
Verla: Quit bragging, LindaJoy. You are good at everything!
_LindaJoy: (not good at MANY things, Verla...you know!)
_LindaJoy: Do NOT worry about length...just write the book
_LindaJoy: If an editor thinks it's too short, they'll let you know (if they like it enough)
LindaSm: and how long did it take you?
LindaSm: a few months?
LindaSm: I am feeling very slow
_LindaJoy: I have written a book in a month, but I prefer 2 months or even 3
LindaSm: That almost makes me ill, Linda...3 months!
LindaSm: You must type fast too, Linda
_LindaJoy: But I was writing a different kind of book, LinS -- light & mass market
_LindaJoy: I just have a discpline of writing at least 5 days a week, and when there's a contract (I miss those days) I write 3-5 pages in a sitting
Verla: So you normally write just 3-5 pages a day?
LindaSm: Thats my problem ,Linda
_LindaJoy: sometimes only ONE page...like today I wrote MINUS a page
LindaSm: and I'm a slow writer
--> _LindaJoy As if I didn't know. :-)
A-Suen: one book a year is plenty
_LindaJoy: Today I rewrote so much, I lost a short chapter
SallyA: Do you write a book all the way thru first, or edit as you go?
_LindaJoy: You write at your OWN pace...don't compare yourself to others
_LindaJoy: (that goes for busts, too, V & LinS)
--> _LindaJoy As if I didn't know how many pages you write each day...but I thought the rest of them would like to know, too....
LindaSm: EXCELLENT question!
A-Suen: some novelist only do one a year
LindaSm: I couldn't handle any more than that!'
_LindaJoy: I used to write SO fast...but now that I've learned more, I edit as I go
LindaSm: Linda, did you see Sally's question?
SallyA: Do you write a book all the way thru first, or edit as you go?
_LindaJoy: I advise to just WRITE the book all the way through, then go back & fix it later
LindaSm: I agree
Verla: She just answered Sally's question, Lin
_LindaJoy: It's like having that frame to work within--so much easier once the words are there
LindaSm: Otherwise I would get bogged down
A-Suen: get it out while it's hot - edit when it's cooled down a bit
LindaSm: good advice A Suen
_LindaJoy: What I do is what works for me, not what's the best way (g)
Verla: That was my big mistake with my first attempt. I kept going back and rewriting over and over and finally I lost the incentive/steam to finish it
LindaSm: A Suen, are you going to attempt a novel or midgrade?
_LindaJoy: What I do now is reread what I wrote the previous day, fix it some, then write new pages
LindaSm: me too Verla!!
LindaSm: I did it once and swore I would never do it again
A-Suen: I'm writing my easy readers now - fiction! Yikes!
LindaSm: Fiction is such fun A-suen...and I can't write a lick in non fiction!
A-Suen: 32 page books, but I'm in the middle now - so i have no idea how many pages it will be this is still my first draft
LindaSm: Is it pure fantasy A suen or realism?
LindaSm: I'm working on a realism story now too...and it's SO hard!
_LindaJoy: Realism would be difficult
Verla: I had a lot of problems writing the really "heavy" scenes...
Verla: I tend to want to "skip" the emotional scenes and just tell what happened afterwards..
LindaSm: Now I never "fix" as i go
_LindaJoy: how long are your easy readers?
_LindaJoy: I need to learn NOT to fix as I go (g)
_LindaJoy: As it looks like time is up, is there anything about plotting I didn't answer? Questions?
Verla: Yikes! Too fast!
Verla turns everyone's clocks back a half hour so we have a little more time.....
_LindaJoy: I'm not sure I explained much about plotting--it's such an individual thing
A-Suen: thank you Verla - real life, Linda
LindaSm: You did great Linda
LindaSm: I REALLY needed this
_LindaJoy: No questions about subplots?
LindaSm: You'll do fine then, A Suen
Verla: You did GREAT, LindaJoy...I learned a LOT from this!
_LindaJoy: I hope so...not sure I know each to explain like a teacher
SallyA: Thank you! Great ! I learned a great deal and got the fiction bug again!
A-Suen: GREAT job Linda! :)
Verla: Do all of your subplots somehow tie in with the main plot? Or can they be entirely different problems with no connection to the main plot?
_LindaJoy: I much prefer fiction, even though non-fiction is tempting
LindaSm: Have you ever done non fiction, LindaJoy?
_LindaJoy: No non-fiction, execpt articles
SallyA: I researched a non-fiction for 4 years first and loved it.
_LindaJoy: All of my subplots ENHANCE the main plot, if not exactly tie in
_Enchanted: I learned a lot, thank you Linda! I especially liked "ask each character what they want" to create subplots.
_LindaJoy: A subplot can show the motivation for a minor character to act in a way that affects the MAIN plot
Verla: Can you explain "enhance," LindaJoy? Give an example of it?
_LindaJoy: A subplot can enhance the main plot but giving reasons for other characters
_LindaJoy: Like if you know that a characters needs money, that character might steal--creating the mystery in the first place
Verla: This hour went WAY too fast, LindaJoy. Thank you SO much for all the wonderful help and information!
Verla: Three cheers for LindaJoy!
_LindaJoy: you're welcome...hope I helped
LindaSm: It was great!
Verla: HOORAY! HOORAY! HOORAY!
_LindaJoy: giving one of my graceful ballet bows -- ouch! stubbed my toe!
Verla: LOL! Cute, LindaJoy!
_LindaJoy: It's hard to bow like a ballerina--toes get in the way
*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Writers & Illustrators of Children's Literature Meet Here
_LindaJoy: ah--I'm done...
_LindaJoy: I can relax now
LindaSm: and you "done well"
Verla: Very well, LindaJoy.
LindaSm: These workshops are work, aren't they?
_LindaJoy: Good...wasn't sure about plotting as a topic
Verla: But fun, too.
_LindaJoy: Well, I AM sweating...but then it's nearly 100 today
Verla: You gave us some great information, LindaJoy, THANKS!
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