Home of a mother, wife, writer

It’s been a bit of an interesting week. Wednesday, both kids got home around noon from their last day of school. The boy insisted we take his training wheels off. He practically flies on the bike with them on, and when we went riding up at Presque Isle, he’d go a while without either training wheel touching the ground. So, once I located an adjustable wrench(shouldn’t have been so difficult with as many tools as my husband has in his toolbox, but yeah) I got the wheels off. He got on and took right off. Did fall a couple times, but he’d just get right back on. His older sister still has no desire to get hers off, so I left them on. That afternoon, she would randomly start crying. Because she missed her teacher. Tried to comfort her, but sometimes you just need to cry. Thursday our neighbor(actually husband’s stepmom’s stepmom) watched the kids and we took the bike to a cruise-in at a local American Legion. Met up with some other riders and rode in with them. Had a lot of fun, but we got back late and had to wake the kids up to walk back across the driveway. They were still up early the next morning. Friday night we went and got groceries, so it was another late night for them, and the boy did not want to go to bed. Yesterday, we stayed outside pretty much all day. Then, went and got dinner with my MIL. We decided to just take one car, so I was crammed in the backseat between the kids. This was not a good thing for my anxiety.

How the boy fell asleep last night. He was saying

How the boy fell asleep last night. He was saying “no bed. never bed.” Guess the floor doesn’t count as going to bed.

Today we have my niece’s 8th birthday party. So, we’ll be gone most of the day. In a comment to last Sunday’s post, Beth Camp asked me about my plotting process. I may have described it before, at least in part. But, I’m not sure how much I’ve talked about it, and it tends to shift as I pick up new methods and blend them in with what I’ve been doing. Usually, though, I start with mind maps. I do a general one for characters, then one for each of the main characters. And finally one for the plot. IMG_0583 IMG_0585 IMG_0584 From there, I list out those main characters’ Internal/External goals, motivations, & conflicts. Then, I start back stories. These can range anywhere from 1-5 handwritten pages. I start with the character’s name, their ages, parents, where they’re from. And let them tell me their story from there. Some like to talk a lot about themselves. Sometimes I have to dig deeper to get them to talk. A lot of times I learn even more about them. The one I’m plotting now, the antagonist(not a villain in this case, though) is the protagonist’s ex-wife. So, they’re telling me some of the same events. But, they have very different perspectives on it. Of course, I hadn’t even realized Tate was married until it came up in Nolan’s story. IMG_0586 IMG_0587 After I finish the back stories, I write out a plot summary. This step I get from the snowflake method. I start with one sentence. Expand that to a paragraph, then into a page. There’s another step expanding it to 5 pages, but I skip that one. Then, I use the list of Signpost scenes from James Scott Bell(I found in Plotting from the Middle). Then, I fill out a beat sheet. And from Rock Your Plot, I got my method of filling out a scene list. IMG_0588 IMG_0590 IMG_0591 After that, I put all the scenes into my Scrivener document with short summary & POV, goal, motivation, conflict, and disaster. And that’s it. It sits there(the papers in an expandable folder) until I’m ready to start writing. I have 2 of those folders full now, which is why I’ll be setting aside any more plotting once this current one is done. Anyway, on to this week’s progress. It’s been a pretty good week really.

  • Freeing His Heart: finish 1st draft – DONE! This was finished at at little over 36,500 words.
  • Jace’s Story: Start(hoping for at least 10k) – Got a little over 12k into this now.
  • Some Fools Never Learn: Finish back stories – these are done. Also finished the plot summary & signpost scenes. And have some ideas for the next story.
  • Into the Sun: total – 11k – have just over 10k right now. probably won’t be making this goal this week.
  • Reading: Finish Chasing Perfect(Susan Mallery), Brewing Up Murder(Catherine Lynn), & Bad Boys of Eden(various – probably won’t read all of them) – I read maybe half the stories in Bad Boys of Eden. The others just didn’t interest me. Also read Always Remember(Emma Hart), had trouble really connecting with this one, though i did enjoy the banter between the couple. Read Looking for Trouble(Victoria Dahl) – really enjoyed this one, Witch Hunt(S.M. Reine) – enjoyed this one too. And started Torrent(Lindsay Buroker) last night. Not very far into it yet. Also finished listening to The Liar(Nora Roberts). Some parts were a bit slow, but overall I enjoyed it.
  • Crochet: Finish Loopy Love Blanket – finally finished this yesterday.IMG_0596
  • Knit: Schooner Hat – got this started but haven’t got too much done yet.

For next week:

  •  Burning Bright(formerly known as Jace’s Story) – get to ~35000 words
  • Some Fools Never Learn – finish outline
  • Into the Sun – total: 12k
  • Reading: Finish Torrent, Republic(Lindsay Buroker), Operation Cinderella(Hope Tarr), Death Scream(S.M. Reine), & Blurring the Lines(Roni Loren)
  • Knit: Schooner Hat – finish

Comments on: "Sunday Summary: My Plotting Process" (17)

  1. Thanks for the commentary on your plotting process. I am getting ready to dive into a new novel and hope to write up the biographies of four main characters this week. Since I pretty much let my characters run the show, it is hard for me to send the plot line down the intended path. I think that if I have a good handle on my characters’ personal stories first, maybe I can see better where they are going to go.

    Have a great week!

  2. Thank you also for writing out your plotting process in spite of an incredibly intense time with the kids, those bike adventures, and the beginning of summer. It really does help to see how other writers organize and think through characters and plot. I especially like that you use pencil/pen and paper, letting the slower hand (and the drawing) lead the way. And how you explore the same events through different points of view. Maybe Scrivener deserves a second chance. Meanwhile, your progress is looking good! Have a great week ahead.

    • yeah, writing by hand does seem to help for this part. I don’t usually do much of the actual drafting by hand, but the plotting work seems to go better that way.


  3. …And I realize that I’m so much more of a pants-er than a planner! 😉 Thank you for sharing your process.

    • haha. Yeah, and even with this, things change & I discover more about the characters as I write the actual story. Sometimes I wonder why I bother, but I need the guide to at least get started.

  4. I thought I was a plotter, but you do much more than I! It’s fascinating to see what works for others–there are as many processes as writers! Good job on your goals, and keep up the good work!

  5. Congrats on finishing a first draft! Your process for plotting is really interesting. I use the Snowflake method, too, to figure out the “three disasters plus an ending.” But beyond that, I don’t plot. My characters, as a rule, come to me organically as I’m writing. I used to do character sheets but I found that I’d toss it all out the window once I started writing. I’m weird, I guess. 😉 I love seeing how other writers work.

    • Thanks!
      Yeah, I’ve tried to fill out character sheets before, but it never worked too well. I like the back stories b/c it’s more of a free writing thing, so the characters are telling me their story. And even then, they develop more as I write.

  6. As always I’m impressed with all you’ve gotten done. Your plotting process is very interesting. I think I may pick up Rock Your Plot because 4 different people have mentioned it this last week. It may be a sign. Good luck from a ROW80 blog hopping friend.

  7. I have this weird thing where I need to use one method for planning , rather than mixing them up (at least so far). I’m breaking out of that a bit with the Trueborn novel I’ll be writing in July(it’s the series born from the stories Eden and I wrote back and forth from about ages 13-20 or so….there are so many volumes in the series already, and over such a long span of years, a shift doesn’t feel odd). It will be my first Snowflake book.

    The Kifo Island Chronicles books for this year will all be Rock Your Plotted :).

    But I recently bought Plot from the Middle, and Save the Cat’s on my list, so who knows- I may eventually merge methods and find the perfect-for-me approach…I know it needs to be open-ended, because my characters definitely have minds of their own!

    You did have a good week…even with the shift in routines And the blanket? Adorable. I want to snuggle right in! =)

    • I’ve found this blend seems to work best for me, and it still gives the characters/story room to be flexible.


  8. That’s quite a process. I do kinda like the thought of mind maps. Might need to try those one, see if it helps organize the hot mess of my mind! 🙂

    Glad you had a great week. I did too. Hoping for another…

    Presque Isle…would that be Near Erie, PA?

    • The mind maps definitely help me work things out. sometimes they’re more questions. other times writing one thing, leads to several more branches from that.
      Yes, it is. We live a bit south of there.

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