ProTalk Discussion: Plotting Perfect Stories - 10/5/04


Actual Discussion Transcript Begins

els: welcome welcome welcome!!!!!!!!!
Verla: wow!
Verla: people!
els: Hi Verla!
Verla: Hi everyone...
Jkc: You're early.
kdbrazil: hey verla
Verla: ya'll ready for tonight's discussion
Verla: jkc... HI !
els: yes, we get to plot, plan and connive tonight, right?
Verla: Nice to meet you in person finally
kdbrazil: I just dragged myself outta bed for it!
Verla: kd... you are a trouper!
Jkc: Okay, I'm almost comfortable....and getting chatty.
Jaina: This odd little toddler seems to think I am her mother
Verla: well, the NERVE of her, jaina
Verla: where is your velcro wall?
Verla: to fling her onto?
Verla: <snark snark>
Verla: oh.. I better get stuff ready for the session...
els: lol- my kids are talking about the velcro wall at Dddy's work's open house- they tell everyone they are going to "stick to the walls!"
Jaina: Gee, Verla, after reading a post of yours just now, in combination with the Velcro thing...
Jaina: I'm beginning to wonder about you..
Verla: LOL jaina... which post? The one about the gum and the broken window?
els: I've been wondering about Verla a looooong time...
Verla: I'm becoming too revealing.. I can tell
els: hehe
Verla: my private life is getting EXPOSED to the world here
Verla: gulp
kdbrazil: first actual workshop I've made it to
Jaina: Yeah, it was the window one
Verla: I thought so, jaina.
*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Plotting Perfect Stories ProTalk Discussion TONIGHT!
els: Mel says we have to wait for her to get here before we start
Verla: oh, she DOES, does she?
Verla: Mel has some nerve!
els: yes, she does.
Verla: ooops.
els: phew, she made it
els: LOL
NOTE: LOL = Laughing Out Loud
WriterMel: WHY are you starting 10 mins early, huh?
Verla looks around at the ceiling and whistles a little off-tune melody
WriterMel: to give me heart failure??????
Verla: we didn't start early mel. YOU are LATE
(P.S. This is not true. Verla was just giving Melody a bad time....)
WriterMel pounces on Verla.
Verla: fix your watch
els: hey, i said starting soon, i thought...
Verla: LOL!
els: it's 5 til, now
els: 4 til..
WriterMel: MY clock says 7:54
Verla glares at mel, and wipes the blood off the floor
WriterMel: on the computer.
els: every clock in my house is different
WriterMel: heh, heh, heh...
Verla: darned woman... can't control herself when she gets around me....
WriterMel hands Verla a rag to mop blood.
WriterMel: At least, I bring my own rags!
Verla: it's 53 after the hour.
els: heya Dy!
kdbrazil: hi dy
Verla: seven minutes to go
dystar: hi
Verla: meantime... look at this room!
WriterMel: nearly kill myself getting here and NOW you're going to wait until it's time?
WriterMel: sheesh.
els: yeah, lovely mess, isn't it? the cobwebs, the chains...
Verla: blood on the floor, dirty rags all over the place... who's that over there under the potted palm...?
WriterMel: Els, where's the dungeon keys?
dystar: you sound like the 10 minutes till bedtime book
els: in my pocket
WriterMel: You might need them for Verla.
Verla: jkc! Get out of there! Look at that! You disturbed all the dust bunnies under there. Shame on you!
kdbrazil: aaaaachooo
Jkc: I'm braiding their hair
els: say, before we start tonight- jkc- what do you write?
Verla: jk MIGHT be an illustrator, too, els. SOME people are, you know....
els: oh, well, not NORMAL people
Verla: and illustrators need to know how to plot stories, too. They do it in the drawings
Verla: right?
Jkc: Right.
Verla: those of you who illustrate...
els: illustrators are WEIRD.
WriterMel: If normal is a requirement for writing, then I'm out of it.
Jkc: That's why I said artist.
Verla: you only say that because you ARE one, els
els: hehe
dystar: me too, mel
WriterMel: PLOTTING benefits everyone, Verla, writer or no.
Verla: I agree, mel
WriterMel: (that was a serious statement, btw)
Verla: looks at watch... THREE MINUTES TO GO!
Verla dusts the podium
kdbrazil: aaaaachooo
Jkc: Ahem.
Verla: would someone straighten the chairs in the second row, please?
Verla: and who's in charge of refreshments?
Jkc: I already did.
Verla: yay, jkc.... you are on the ball tonight
Verla hands jk a gold button to wear
Jkc: I will wear it proudly.
Verla: and a sword to defend it from els when she gets back...
els: ok, pant pant pant
els: kids nailed in bed...
Verla: Oh... look at that? Beautiful ruby red punch
kdbrazil: I was in charge of refreshments but I handed it over to dy because I kept sneezing in the cheese dip
Verla: LOL els
dystar: me? uh-oh
els: ewwwww Kristy!
Verla: did you remember to nail both feet down, els? If not, they'll be up running in circles all evening....
kdbrazil: you didn't get my e-mail?
WriterMel: here's the pitcher of ice water and several glasses, Verla.
dystar: well, I've got some, um, leftover pizza...
WriterMel: where ya want 'em?
Verla is glad she's alergic to cheese
els: I'm going to get some mint choc icecream
kdbrazil: ok and here's a few milky ways I brought back to brazil with me
dystar: and a couple of broken cookies
WriterMel: we usually stick one glass for the speaker on the podium.
Jkc: Do we have cones?
Jkc: For the ice cream.
Jaina: Mmmm... brazilky ways.
WriterMel hands Jkc a package of old cones for the ice cream....
Jkc: Thanks.
WriterMel: I think you can pick the mold off, and it'll be ok, right?
Verla: waffle cones are in that box over there on the top shelf, jk...
Jkc: Mmmmm.
WriterMel: You HID them from me!
WriterMel: Wah!
Verla: it's TIME!
*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Plotting Perfect Stories ProTalk Discussion IN PROGRESS
dystar: oh, there we go. I had some chateaubriand
Verla: Okay, all... Here we are for the 5th ProTalk Discussion
Verla: tonight's topic is Plotting Perfect Stories
Verla: The "rules" of this discussion are simple...
els: 1. there are no rules
Verla: no personal hellos or goodbyes... (if you need to leave early, please just quietly leave the room. We understand you had to go.)
Verla kicks els. ARE TOO rules. I'm giving them now!
els: (ouch)
WriterMel hands els an ice pack for her leg.
Verla: No violence (except for els, who is our resident dungeon mistress and tortures people who get out of line and me who is Kia.)
Verla: and please stay on topic...
Verla: join in... put in your two cents and ask questions about plotting...
Verla: after all, that's why we're here tonight. :-)
Verla: Okay...
Verla: what's the first thing you need to do to plot a perfect story?
WriterMel: an idea.
kdbrazil: have an idea?
caroline: have a problem?
dystar: figure out who your characters are
Jaina: Pencil?
Verla: I usually need a title or a first line to start my stories
Verla: but a problem is really important, too
dystar: character and plot are intertwined -- you need both for a story
cass: I usually start with a scenario or relationship
Verla: how important do you feel characters are in plotting?
els: I need to see point a and point z clearly, everything in the middle can be obscure, but once I know the beginning and the end it is a help in plotting
kdbrazil: can you start writing with out being sure which problem is the real problem?
dystar: can't do it without 'em!
Verla: I think that's my weakest point... having the characters be vital in a plot. I tend to think in "action scenes" instead of "emotional scenes"
Jaina: Characters are important because you need to know what they want and what they'd do (or not do)
WriterMel: Characters are major to a plot.
cass: that's a good question Kd
els: right, Jaina
dystar: I think you can, kd
WriterMel: KD: I think you can. The problem can change as your characters evolve.
caroline: getting started is the exciting part... but how do you finish?
Verla: Oh, I agree with you, els. I need to know where I'm going to really be able to write a good story, too. That's been my biggest problem with my story I'm working on now. I knew how it started, but didn't know where/how to end it... so the middle is really a muddle of yuk

L WriterMel: What conclusion do you want, caroline.
els: the problem becomes the plot
dystar: there's some talk about character-driven vs. plot-driven books, but I think you can't have the one without the other
Verla: I find it very hard to get to the ending of a story (or write it) when I don't know how to end it
Verla: I think you're right, dy
caroline: writermel, what do you mean?
WriterMel: I mean, what is the end you want?
Verla: but one can have more emphasis than the other
Verla: I love full-circle endings
els: basically, all the problems that you throw at your character should be herding htem toward the finish you have in mind.
WriterMel: Your conclusion...
Verla: like in my Gold Fever book...
els: without looking contrived
caroline: i guess i want the main characters to grow
pickle: sometimes I write the ending first
caroline: but in a believable way
cass: Verla, when you are plotting your story, do you do it in rhyme, or do you plot it all out first?
dystar: good start, caroline
Verla: he is at home on his farm at the beginning of the book... watching the miners go off to the gold fields to make their fortunes...
pickle: when I don't know what it's going to be...I think what I want the outcome to be..and write that
WriterMel: Then, you complicate that problem until brings the plot forward...
pickle: then go back and catch up to it
Verla: I normally know the beginning and ending before I start, cass. When I don't, it takes me YEARS to write it
Jkc: I once got my MC's in so much trouble that their parents all grounded them. That called the story to a halt.
cass: wow, verla
cass: lol, jkc
Verla: at the end of Gold Fever, Jasper is back on the farm again (he came home broke) and he is watching the miners go off to the fields to make their fortunes
caroline: i can plot a pb, because it all 'fits in my head', but I'm having trouble trying my first novel
dystar: go for simple themes first
kdbrazil: me too caroline
Jaina: You need a bigger head, Caroline.
Verla: but in the beginning he is longing to go with them... at the end, he is thrilled to be at home (as evidenced by the illustrator's rendering of his homecoming where he kisses the family cow! LOL)
caroline: :)
els: heh, kia!
Verla: I used an outline when I worked on my first novel, caroline
dystar: there's a simple theme: there's no place like home
Jkc: I should have used an outline...thus the grounding.
caroline: do you plan chapter by chapter what is going to happen
Verla: I did, caroline
els: well, but you can use the kids being grounded- what does it make them want? do they sneak out? do they find inside adventures?
Jkc: No...
Verla: I decided that chapter one would be this scene... and chapter two would be that scene... and so on. I wrote down a simple line or two of what each chapter would have in it
dystar: I used to think you could just sit down and write, but there's an awful lot of planning that goes on first
Verla: then, as I wrote it, some of the scenes disappeared, and others appeared...
Verla: but that was okay...
caroline: is there a good resource/how to book on this
kdbrazil: on my mg in progress I have planned half the book chapter by chapter and know the ending but am still sketchy on the last half of the book
Verla: it made it easy to write
caroline: i've seen the Marshall Plan... but it looks scary
Verla: Writer's Digest has a really good book on plotting
els: I'm finding that a novel has to sit in my head for at least 2-5 years before I can even write the first word
Verla: I have the Marshall Plan, too... and it's scary to me, too, Caroline!
cass: i can identify with that els
dystar: outlines and plots change, too
Jaina: I used the Marshall Plan for my MG, but only in the loosest sense
pickle: what is this Marchall plan and why is it scary
kdbrazil: i haven't seen the marshall plan
caroline: is that WD book just called "Plotting"?
Verla: I worked on mine for over ten years before I got the first draft on paper, els
Jkc: Really els?
Verla: I think it is, caroline
Verla: my books are almost all still in storage. :-( So I can't go look
els: yes, Jk
Jaina: It's very similar to the "Scene and Sctructure" WD book
caroline: the Marshall Plan is a step by step how to write a novel and it comes in a book and workbook
pickle: what makes it "scary"?
els: when I am finally ready to write, I can finish and adult novel of 400 pages in 3 weeks- because I can see it through, beginning to end
els: of course, that isn't FINISHED- it is a rough draft
Verla: it's six inches thick with tiny print, pickle
tgseale: Is that what it's called? I just googled it and came up with financial stuff
caroline: pickle, it is very intensive
els: oh, that IS scary, kia
Jkc: That's impressive!!!!!
Verla: (well, I exaggerated a "little"... maybe not quite THAT thick...)
NOTE: the Marshall Plan Workbook is 3/4 of an inch thick in reality
WriterMel: The BEST plan (and I've not read the Marshall Plan) is the one Gilbert Morris gave, imho.
NOTE: imho = In My Humble Opinion
pickle: ohhh....yes that would be scary
Jaina: I just took what I wanted from the Marshall plan book and let the rest go.
pickle: Mel did he write a book on it...Gilbert Morris?
WriterMel: (He's written literally hundreds of books for the Christian market)
WriterMel: Yes, kay, he did!
pickle: I'm familiar with of the few Christian writers I can stomach
Jaina: Meaning, i got to the middle where they showed how to write up individual sections and used that to plot out my MG
caroline: what do you do if you've plotted your way into a corner?
Jkc: Like I did?
WriterMel: Find a way out caroline, or back track.
Verla: Hey! I have that Marshall Plan Workbook -- here!
tgseale: I just found it on amazon. Nevermind.
kdbrazil: ok I'm starting to feel like I am out of my mind for trying to write a novel and I've never seen one of these official plans....
WriterMel: Jkc: Your kids could have snuck out, yes?
Verla: And it's not quite THAT scary
pickle: I'l have to look for the Gilbert Morris one
cass: You can do it without a big-name plan, Kd :)
Jaina: KD, it's just a thing about writing scenes and their sequels, or action/reaction
Jaina: no big deal, really
Verla: I took the Reader's Digest Novel Writing Course when I was starting my novel
Verla: and it had wonderful course materials which helped me a lot
Jkc: Yes...but all four of them? I just rewrote 1000's of words.
caroline: Do you know what your climax is before you start
WriterMel: Gilbert Morris suggests writing a blurb, expand to a summary, then from there into simple one - two sentences of what you want to happen in each chapter.
tgseale: I've tried writing one as well. I get "lost" in my own plot
Jaina: I have the Scene and Sequel book from Writer's Digest and it's the same deal
Verla: one thing I did was I started a binder
cass: what's in it?
Verla: and put tabbed dividers in it for every chapter
Jkc: Oh my.
Verla: one page in each chapter had my one or two lines of what would be in it
WriterMel: I've done that, Verla...
dystar: it's okay to start over
WriterMel: Still do it generally.
Verla: then I could pick it up and write on any chapter that caught my fancy
dystar: if you write yourself into a corner
Verla: yep, dy
caroline: i did find writing a synopsis REALLY helped me figure out where I needed to go
dystar: it's just words
Verla: yes, caroline
Jaina: I did that... wrote out of order. It was fun until I had to fill in the gaps
els: oh, I do tht sometimes, but in a word processor file. it never works for me for some reason
cass: that actually make the whole novel thing seem manageble
tgseale: so, did you call that your outline, Verla? Did you stick with what you'd originally planned for each ch?
Verla: If I thought of the whole thing, it became a huge mountain that was impossible to climb
Verla: no, but it kept me "on track" tg
Jkc: Back to having the characters with no place to go.
kdbrazil: the thing that makes the whole novel thing seems manageable to me is just to write 2 pages a day...but that has nothing to do with plotting...shhh,kd
Jkc: Not the grounded ones...just any characters.
Verla: Yes, it was my outline... but I didn't consider it to be "rigid"
Verla: if something interesting started to develop, I let it, as long as it was still heading towards that ending I wanted
dystar: ask how your characters can interact to cause a conflict
tgseale: that's a greaaaaat idea. That might be just the thing to keep my wordiness at bay. maybe
caroline: Jkc, I guess there has to be a journey of some kind (internal or external)
Verla: oh.... I like that, dy!
Verla: has anyone had any real problems with plotting?
Verla: that we can talk about?
Jaina: I have a wonderful (I think! ;)) plot, but I can't work on the book because it feels like HALF a plot to me
kdbrazil: internal AND external usually, right?
Jaina: Like something's missing
caroline: right
Verla: the best books are the ones that have both an internal and an external journey going on... especially when they conflict with each other~
Verla: it might be, jaina
caroline: Verla are you looking for a specific example?
dystar: someone once told me that a really great book is one in which the mc is in conflict with the theme
Jaina: And I've let it stew all year but still can't think of what might make this a whole book
Verla: I finally realized what was wrong with my novel. I was missing an important "internal journey" for one of my two main characters
tgseale: oooh, yes. of course!
caroline: what would the external journey be if it just happens in school
Verla: play "what if" with it, jaina... and then let it sit. All of a sudden one day, it will CLICK and you will have that perfect plot
Jaina: I hope it doesn't take too long because the topic is a bit timely
Verla: external journey is what physically happens to your character, caroline
caroline: I always pictured external journies like the quest LOTR
Verla: where he goes, what he does, what happens to him
Verla: internal journey is how your character feels and thinks about things
dystar: just a school year can be enough for the outer journey, or a conflict with someone else
Verla: like at the beginning of my Gold Fever book Jasper is longing desperately to go to the gold fields and make his fortune
Verla: he's not happy at home
caroline: ok -- and the mc should grow, right, but should the secondary characters?
Verla: at the end, he's VERY happy to be home. His internal journey was becoming happy where he is...
Verla: his external journey was physically going out and looking for gold and coming home empty-handed
dystar: people always change and grow, so secondaries should at least a little
caroline: i guess i just can't decide what to do with my secondary character...
Verla: not necessary for them to grow, caroline. (although they can) It's your main character you really want your readers to care about and remember
tgseale: but it doesn't necessarily have to have a happy ending for all involved, right?
dystar: do character descriptions for all of your characters unless they are really peripheral
Jaina: Question... what if your setting is a sort of contained environment. Like suppose a character were stuck somewhere for the whole of the book--that's part of the plot.
Verla: the secondary character can stay a secondary character, caroline.. but maybe he's changed a little because of what happens in the story?
Jaina: Is "getting out" or leaving that place enough of an external journey?
dystar: it's your book: do what you like
Verla: why not, jaina? Especially if the main character is trapped and can't get out easily
caroline: i think so, Jaina
Cindy_L: Can the situation get worse, Jaina?
caroline: thanks verla
Jaina: I think it needs to, cindy
Jaina: but I'm not sure how
Genetta: Jaina, your external journey doesn't necessarily have to take him out of that contained environment, if he can still do things in that environment. Right?
Jaina: yep
Verla: or he might become a worse person because of what happens in your story, too, caroline. Always take your first idea for a plot and turn it inside out/upside down!
Verla: that often makes a much more original, interesting plot
tgseale: Jaina, like HOLES?
Jaina: I guess I don't have him doing much physically, though other characters do. That's why I feel like it's half a plot
Verla: (which is something editors want to see)
Amishka: caroline, I don't think all your characters have to grow
Jaina: Well, TG, yes, but in Holes at least Stanley DOES something... He takes action
Amishka: they may grow a little but you may not see it because the story isn't about them
Jaina: In this book I'm plotting, I haven't come up with a big thing my character would do.
caroline: i was hoping to give a better understanding of him.. but maybe he doesn't grow himself
kdbrazil: Jaina can he take action to change or influence his environment?
Verla: what is your main character's big problem, jaina?
Genetta: Jaina, what exactly is his conflict?
cass: I like that mish -the characters growing but not seen
Jaina: I don't really want to go into it in this transcripted chat, but
Jaina: The MC is stuck in a certain place for a week. Verla: and most "bully" stories are almost always told from the POV of the victim.
Jaina: one finally leaves
caroline: that's why I'm telling this from the friend of the main character... who has a change of heart
Jaina: yes, probably (this book hasn't been written yet... I'm just stewing up ideas)
Verla: your main character DOES need to take action for it to work, jaina
Amishka: Jaina, Stuck in Neural the mc was stuck in a place
Jaina: Okay, I'll check that one out
Amishka: well his body
els: I was going to mention that book, but I haven't read it.
Amishka: I read it a long time ago
Verla: also, reread Holes to see how multi-layered the plot in it was
Jaina: I think there needs to be a big action on the Mc's part in my book
Verla: you might just need more layers in your story that overlap, jaina
Jaina: similar to Stanley leaving the camp to go after Zero
Genetta: Speaking of multi-layers, is that necessary to plot in layers?
Verla: I think layers in a plot are what make it really interesting
Amishka: the mc has CF or something like that and doesn't have much use of his body - just his mind works
Jaina: I mean the book isn't really about Stanley being stuck at a camp, but about Stanley feeling he is stuck by the curse as a person
caroline: i thought they 'evolved' but maybe they are planned -- layers, i mean
els: yes, good point, Jaina
Verla: It's not "necessary," Genetta (there's always exceptions to everything) but I think in a novel it really makes it hold together better
Jaina: so let's just say I have the emotional underlying layer, but not the overall structural layer down
Verla: play with his emotions, jaina
Verla: what would they make him do that he doesn't want to do?
caroline: can you picture it as a movie jaina? Sometimes that helps me 'see' the scenes
Jaina: That might help
Verla: oh, nice idea, caroline!
tgseale: oooh yes!
Verla: like when you are "picturing" the pages in a picture book...
Verla: if there isn't anything to draw, then you don't have a "strong" page for a PB
*** Jennifer is now known as Slacker6553775
Verla: Jennifer, someone else has registered that nickname. Type /nick Jennifer4 and see if that works...
Genetta: So, let's say you have a basic plot and want to layer. How do you tie it all together?
*** Slacker6553775 is now known as Jennifer4
Jennifer4: thanks
Genetta: For that matter, is layering a plot the same thing as subplots?
Jaina: And how to brainstorm layers? Do any of you just start writing and see wht happens?
dystar: make sure the two layers connect in some way
Jkc: Me.
Verla: Oh, that's a good question, Genetta
dystar: I do it sometimes, Jaina
caroline: i follow tangents other characters take and see if it leads back to the mc again
Jkc: But it gets me into trouble.
Verla: man.. you are asking tough questions, Genetta
dystar: mostly to find out whether or not I'm going in the right direction
kdbrazil: I do Jaina but I am only halfway through...I sort of plot it out but htey layers develp naturally
caroline: if not, you've got a short story
*** Lyra has joined channel #Kidlit
Genetta: sorry, but if you don't know, how can I? ha
Jaina: Hey, Lyra
Verla: I ususally find myself written into a corner when I try to "just write" without going anywhere. I did that with Iron Horses... and I wrote over 150 verses and STILL didn't have a story!
Genetta: So, how did you repair the problem, Verla?
Verla: Genetta, in Iron Horses, I finally came to the conclusion that I could NOT write that story in verse. So I started writing it in prose. When I did, I found my "story line".... where it was going to start and end. And then I was able to put the verses in order.... and do it in verse after all. Because I knew where the story was going... what the plot was!
Verla: oh, good lyra! JUST in time. We need you!
Lyra: ooh...looking for a back door...
caroline: i did get some layer stuff when I was writing the character sketches
caroline: but you're right verla, it can take you on a wild goose chase
Verla: Genetta just asked a couple of very good questions that we need your expert opinion on, lyra (Linda Joy Singleton is the Queen of Plotting, IMO)
Lyra: I write outlines.
tgseale: that's what inevitably happens to me when I try to write longer than pb length
Genetta: How detailed are your outlines?
Verla: Genetta: So, let's say you have a basic plot and want to layer. How do you tie it all together? Genetta: For that matter, is layering a plot the same thing as subplots?
kdbrazil: verla plotting is ten times harder to stick to in verse isn't it
Verla: It certainly can be, kd... especially if there aren't two good words that rhyme that fit the plot you want to follow. I've had to change my story line many times because there simply were NOT two words that would make sense in the story if I went in a certain direction....
cass: I can manage a short story, but beyond that I get so off-track
kdbrazil: i started my mg novel as a short story and then realized there was no way to contain it
tgseale: I would like to learn, though. It's hard to shift gears
Lyra: My outlines are about 3-5 pages
Amishka: caroline, if you are alternating the povs and the bully is one of them he should grow in some way
Lyra: And I change them as I go along. For the book I'm writing now, my outline includes the last page of the book.
Genetta: So, does your original outline that you begin with include sub-plots? And, are those the same thing as layering plots?
caroline: ami - it is his friend
Lyra: Yup--it has some subplots, but not in detail
Amishka: Jaina, I never plot ahead of time - not on paper, I do have the story in my head
Lyra: Like the one I'm writing now ended up having a "beauty vs ugly" subplot as one character developed
Amishka: but I let it just go the way it goes
kdbrazil: and boy does it work for you ami
Lyra: my subplots all come from what different characters want in this book...I ask myself what they want and it becomes a subplot
tgseale: yes, alma. I think you're gifted in that dept!
Genetta: oh! That helps!
cass: mish, do you have the outline in your head?
caroline: good idea lyra
Genetta: Does what the minor characters want have to tie in with the mc?
Lyra: Gen--they do in my books
Amishka: sorry, I must have read that wrong, Caroline,
caroline: :)
Lyra: But I don't know if it always matters
Amishka: We don't have to see him grow if he's not a mc
Lyra: With my book DOUBLE VISION, I had all these things going on at school, and it all tied up in the end in a way that even amazed me...not in the original plot
Amishka: we may see something he does that makes it look like he grows or learns something
Genetta: If that's the way you do it, and what you do sells, then it must matter. :-)
caroline: ami - i guess i just didn't want the 'all live happily ever after' feel, but for it to be hopeful
Amishka: I'm not one for happily ever after endings, caroline
Jaina: Genetta, thanks for asking that (what does the minor character want) because that might really help me generate another layer!
Amishka: life isn't like that
caroline: lyra, did it just figure itse'lf out
caroline: but it needs to be satisfying and believable, right ami?
Amishka: Yes
caroline: ...and they woke up.. it was all a dream. :)
Amishka: perhaps just leave that part of the plot open
Amishka: I don't believe in tying up every end in my plots either
Amishka: again life isn't all tied up in a nice bow
caroline: do i smell sequel?
Verla: In children's stories (especially for younger children) they don't necessarily have to have a totally happy ending, but I think they DO have to end with some kind of "hope" or something upbeat. Young children need to know that the world is an okay place to live in... that there's hope at the end of even the darkest moments
Amishka: Not for my YA, caroline
dystar: shut the door, but leave a light on
dystar: I forget who said that
Amishka: I agree, Verla, something should change for the better
caroline: you did
Verla: teenagers, now, are an entirely different story. Many of †hem thrive and LOVE the darker emotions and they are happiest when they are made the most miserable...
caroline: it could also be a 'whew! thank god that's not me'
Amishka: Teenagers sometimes have to realize life isn't all a bowl of cherries and yes even teens can die, get sick or whatever
Verla: editors HATE the dream ending, caroline. I do NOT advocate using it!
Jennifer4: do any of you discuss your story ideas with the kids and teenagers in your life?
caroline: ... i know. I'm just yanking your chain. :)
Amishka: Jenn, my kids read my stories
Amishka: I don't let my youngest read my YA but my teen does
LindaJoy: My young adults won't read my work
Verla: (whew, caroline. And I jumped on the chain, didn't I? <grin>)
Genetta: My kids won't read my work, either. ha
Jennifer4: Ami, while you are still writing like for feedback or once you are done?
Jaina: I try not to torture my kids with my writing
Amishka: depends on the book Jenn
Verla: gosh. I make everyone around me read mine. LOL
Amishka: and the child
Jennifer4: LOL Verla
Verla: I think that's why my kids all moved out as soon as they were 18...
caroline: do you wait till your first draft is done before you let someone read Verla
cass: Wait I'm behind...happy endings in ya...I think that it's the reader who needs to grow and be left with thought, for drama-yas
Verla: yes, and sometimes it's long after that, though, Caroline. Except for my husband. He shoots down most of my verses as I think of them.
Amishka: Caroline, I've seen one of Verla's early first drafts
Amishka: they are scary
Verla: LOL Ami. Yes, they certainly are!
kdbrazil: ok what about on a you wait til the whole thing is done first draft before haivng some one read or get chpaters critted along the way
Jennifer4: I live in a area full of kids aged 8-13 and I ask them questions ALL THE TIME, at first they thought I was weird (especially my nephew who lives next door) but now they all think it's cool
caroline: i think that is why i'm stuck with the novel. I had it critted by 2 groups as i've been writing it.
caroline: and now i'm all confused
Amishka: not a rhyme in the book (or hardly a rhyme)
Jaina: If you mean "what would you do if..." type stuff, Jennifer, then yes--i've done that.
Amishka: Kd, for me that depends on the novel and the person reading it. Sometimes, I want to know if its working
caroline: i think it is sucking the momentum out of me
tgseale: caroline, I sometimes find that if I share an idea or a WIP with anyone before getting the first draft down, I'll lose enthusiasm for the project.
NOTE: WIP = Work In Progress
Genetta: Caroline, I don't think I would want input as I'm writing it. That could cause such confusion because I don't always know where it's going until it's finished.
Verla: oh... most of the time it's not good to let anyone crit until you are done with the first draft, Caroline. It dilutes your energy from the first draft into revisions and it can kill your energy for the story
caroline: kryptonite
Anne_Marie: Caroline, I have tried to crit other people's work piece by piece and I've had mine done piece by piece and I will never do it again. I will always wait for the whole draft from now on.
Amishka: Caroline, forget whatever they said in the critique and just push forward
Verla: if you need to get input before it's done... ask for a plot-line crit
Amishka: get the first draft done even if it's a crappy draft
kdbrazil: ok what about YOU going back and tweaking along the way...or should you just plow on through
caroline: how do you do that verla
dystar: plow on through
Genetta: Yes, I do tweak along the way.
dystar: get it done
cass: what's a plot line critique?
kimmar: In working now on my first novel, Caroline, I've turned to a few writers along the way for help with character or plaotting concerns or transitioning, but I don't think I'll shatre the whole thing until I'm done because I worry about losing enthusiasm
Verla: not the writing itself, but where your plot is going... your synopsis or outline (one or two lines about each chapter)
Anne_Marie: i think it's okay to tweak as long as you're really only tweaking. When you start doing extensive revisions as most of yoru writing time, you're not tweaking anymore.
Amishka: Caroline just ask them if they think the plot is good
caroline: maybe i'll try to write that plot line thing for my next crit group meeting
dystar: don't get bogged down in rewriting the first chapter 15 times
caroline: maybe they can inspire me with a good twist for the ending
cass: Someone does that -Richard Peck??
cass: He writes a page or two until perfect and then moves on
Anne_Marie: I wrote six chapters once, then rewrote them before going on, but it was because I changed tense.
kimmar: does what cass?
tgseale: yeah, because don't you novel writers usually dump the first chapter anyway most of the time?!?
Anne_Marie: Then he tosses his first chpater.
Verla: I wrote my first chapter for my novel over and over again for a YEAR before I was happy with it and would move on to the second chapter.
Amishka: or if you have to bring something, caroline, give them an old pb to crit
cass: it's the pancake rule, tg
dystar: everybody's different
Verla: and then, later on in the book, I had to throw out the first chapter and do a new one, as it no longer "fit" the beginning of the book
caroline: well i just went back and rewrote the first 60 pages (after our retreat amishka).. but now I'm where I got stuck the last time
Verla: so I honestly believe it's a waste to try to make that first draft perfect
caroline: how long does a first draft usually take you for a YA
Amishka: Me?
caroline: yeah
dystar: just keep going, caroline-- and if you have to fix it, at least you'll know what you were doing wrong
kimmar: mish is fast! (don't ask mish, lol)
Amishka: uh... last one took about a weekend, caroline
caroline: she is one with the keyboard
caroline: SHADDUUP
tgseale: pppptttthhhhhhht!
Amishka: ask someone else
kdbrazil: yeah just don't even ask her
kimmar: I TOLD you not to ask her!
Verla: when I got stuck on my book, caroline... I wrote a single sentence describing what that part of the book was to contain. As: Boy discovers Girl isn't as nice as he thought she was. I turn the type RED on that line, then I move on to the next scene and write it. Later, I come back and fill in the red words with the real scene
caroline: it must be all those gummi bears
kdbrazil: she is truly amazing
Amishka: My agent just accepted and sent off a book I wrote in a month
caroline: good suggestion verla.. i think i will try that
Verla: my first draft of my first novel took me 10 years, Caroline
caroline: good lord
caroline: i plan on being rich and famous by then
Verla: and it's been 15 years now and I'm on the third draft...
caroline: (yank yank)
Amishka: but that's odd even for me for a YA anyhow
cass: Mish's Muse is strong
Amishka: sometimes
Verla stares at ami.. and passes out!
tgseale: I'm going to start giving my muse One a Day Plus Iron
caroline: metaMUSEal
cass: Alma, how long did the story ferment in your head before you started to write it? (please say a long time)
Jkc: Where is the Muse Store?
Amishka: that one, a few months, cass
dystar: she uses a Muse pad
caroline: now that's aMUSing
tgseale: lol
Amishka: so yes, it was in my head I just had to start it the right way and it came out
Amishka: I don't outline.
tgseale: don't avoid the question
tgseale: ;)
Amishka: thinking
Jkc: She wiggles her nose.
Amishka: about four months
Amishka: I guess
dystar: for AKS?
Amishka: no In the Garage
Verla: Lyra writes a book in about 6 months
Verla: or less
Verla: sr sometimes more
tgseale: sigh...You guys are exceptional
Amishka: AKS took longer to write. I kept taking three to six month breaks
Verla: depends
kimmar: plot-wise I find I get to certain points thinking that what I think will work, will work, but then I think "there must be a more exciting way to do this" but I don't know what that way is and I end up stuck
Amishka: between drafts
dystar: dealines help a lot
cass: Jeez, I'll spend that long on a haiku
caroline: me too kimmar
Verla: but lyra has published over 25 books! She is VERY experienced and she is a natural-born plotter
dystar: deadlines, I mean
Verla: My 215 word (not pages - WORDS) book of Broken Feather took me 5 years to write
Verla: oh oh oh!
Verla: our time is UP people!
Anne_Marie: oh oh oh the fun's begun
Amishka: you have to rhyme perfectly Verla that's harder
cass: but this discussion is hot hot hot
Verla: anyone have any last burning questions or tips they want to ask/share before we close?
caroline: thanks for the insights... i got new goals now
kdbrazil: me too, thanks everyone!
Verla: yay, caroline! that's the whole point of these discussions...
Jkc: Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this!
cass: yes, thank you!!
Verla: to get the juices flowing
kdbrazil: crawling back to bed now....
Verla: thanks for coming everyone
varia: are you going to post the transcript now Kia?
katrapp: sure she will
Verla: yes, varia
tgseale: Wow, Verla! Great! I can't wait to read back through the transcript. I think I will buy a new notebook with dividers tomorrow and get back to work
caroline: maybe i'll write a YA this weekend. :)
Verla: LOL caroline!
Jaina: Caroline, I just wrote one while you were saying that.
Jaina: And it's awesome.
caroline: LOL
tgseale: lol
kimmar: lol jaina
Jkc: Good night, everyone!
Log file closed at: 10/5/04 7:14:09 PM

Verla Kay
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