As a newbie writer years ago, I took every workshop and attended every writer’s meeting with a fervor reserved for the newly converted.
I wrote more books as time went by, and attended more conferences and workshops, and I became convinced that my process of flying by the seat of my pants to write a book was making me a slow writer. So, with an obsession that borders on … well, OCD, I poured over Carolyn Green’s Plot Doctor notebook, learned everything I could glean out of it, attended Debra Dixons’ Goal, Motivation and Conflict (actually attended this workshop twice - years apart - because sometimes my brain is really that dense), filled out worksheets and tried to pound the information into my brain. Then I found First Draft in 30 Days. Perfect way to write my books quickly, I thought. More worksheets to fill out, with more plot to figure out in front of the story. I was in OCD heaven.
And don’t get me started on the 3-Act Structure or 6-Act Structure, etc., I will explode. Really. It won't be pretty.
Only to write slower and slower, have many moments of self-doubt and many, many times of calling or emailing friends for support and just plain whining.
It took several years and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. One of those was the thought that I needed to plot to be a successful writer. NOT TRUE. Several well-known and prolific writers (Allison Brennen comes to mind immediately) do not plot. The secret to their success – IMHO – is that they write, every day or nearly every day. They sit down and put their time in, consistently.
Earlier this year, after finally deciding that I was done effing around with a book I’ve written and re-written and polished for a couple of years now, it was time to pick a new project. Usually when I’m done with one book, another has already been knocking at my brain, trying to get in. Not this time. I had nothing. It was a scary – petrifying, really – few weeks.
There are files in my drawer full of ideas, and not-fully-formed book possibilities, so I pulled them out. Only one excited me to any degree, an idea about a woman who owned a bar, a safe place where the paranormal community would gather called The Gathering Place ... a supernatural Cheers, if you will. I knew she was special, and that she did something else on the side, like a bounty hunter or private investigator. That’s it. Nothing else.
Not even her name. Plot – what plot?To be continued .....