Thursday, October 08, 2009

Jet Lag, Dogdy Connections and RNA Conference Notes

I'm back in Dubai but I don't think my brain has arrived yet. I hate this wobbly headed feeling. I normally don't suffer jet lag to badly but maybe because I don't have to rush around suddenly I can 'indulge' in jet lag???

New time in the UK was brilliant - glorious weather, friends, writing, shopping.........but terrible Internet connection. My dongle wouldn't stay connected for more than two second if it would connect at all. Ended up using friends 'puters which is fine for a quick check of emails but not much more. So I am way behind on all the things I need to do - like catch up on emails etc.

I don't know if its the jet lag or something else but am having a tough time reconnecting with Penderown at the moment. It certainly could just be the muzzy head, which a strong espresso isn't helping. It could be I have come to stuck plot point and it isn't working. I'll give it until tomorrow before I start digging for the glitch.

I am way behind in posting loads of things for you. I received an award 'The Lovely Blog' from the fabulous CS Harris. Blushing here especially having been such a bad blogger lately but I solider on.

The rules are simple:
1) Accept the award, and don’t forget to post a link back to the awarding person.
2) Pass the award on.
3) Notify the award winners.

I always find this a bit tough but in this case I have to give the award to Anita Burgh who will curse me for it but she is doing the most wonderful posts at the moment beginning with the start of writing a novel (make sure you read the comments too on the latest post as other writers are sharing their processes too) and JJ for the way she enjoys her expat life and struggles with writing.

Now think back to summer, that wasn't if you were in the UK, I began most on the RNA conference but never finished them. So below find my notes for the wonderful talk by Jodi Thomas - she gave us so much that it was hard to get it all down.


Jodi Thomas ‘Plotting for Success in a Writing Career’


She has been making a living by writing for twenty years and before that she was a family counsellor.


Book Plotting
-first it’s all about the characters
-must care about the characters
-we have to identify with them
-has to have flaws; if good looking and perfect on the outside the flaws must be within
-he has to have a goal – need or want something and we need to know this from the beginning; the reader needs to know that
-we need to throw his world into turmoil; has to be basic down to the ground
-think of the character and think of the flaw and the need – they go together even if not reveal to the reader totally until the last page (you find out that he is an orphan on the last page and this is what has driven him to want a home and family so badly)
-fully developed as he needs to come alive
-has to be fully rounded; backside and front side; every character trait has two side – the positive and the negative (a gentle man which is good but you fear he will be unable to act to defend you)
-people develop in a story – everyone ether gets prettier or uglys up like they do in real life- not by the way they look but by their actions


Conflict
You have to have a mountain in front of your character’s way – he must climb up and fall back again and again
Don’t bother with a conversation if it doesn’t have conflict in it
Create a character - Character's Name- would have been perfect if she hadn’t wanted ........ so much – a silly example (mine - I think) Ben would have been perfect if he hadn’t loved pizza with such passion
What if?
-he is gluten intolerant
-his wife hates pizza with the same passion as he loves it
-if he is actually so obese his mouth has been wired shut

Then make it personal - change to first person
-What if I am allergic to cheese and wheat
-What if I love my wife so much I can’t make her have any more pizza
-What if I am determined to lose 100 hundred pounds and regain my life

1.Wagon wheel
Put the problem in the middle and fill each space with a solutions – then create the spokes out of there with further possibilities of what it
2.Tell a few friends your basic premise and have them throw 20 scenarios at you as quickly as possible
3.Write down five things your character would never do- force his wife to eat pizza, use wire cutters to cut open his mouth to eat the pizza...
4.Push your characters out of their comfort zone whatever that may be...make them uncomfortable
4.Set aside time to plot – we are always in such a rush to start a new book – to get going. Take time – take a day or two or a week and change your environment to do it – even if it’s going to a coffee shop in a different part of town so no one knows you and can interrupt

Plotting your Writing Career
Spring
-Clearing the land, preparing the land. This is the time to learn your craft; take courses, read books
-Practice Writing - get a critique group
-Challenge yourself and Set Goals
Pitfalls: Too comfortable so you get stuck
Summer
-A writer writes –the secret of a successful writing career is to write)
-wear a stop watch and see the actual time you write (be honest)
-writers like to ‘build their nest’ cut this time down to ten minutes
-if you write for twenty hours a week (actually write – remember the stop watch above) you will be published
-only failures are people who don’t try
-when you feel you are going to quick and all is against you remember ‘triumph comes through perseverance’
Pitfall – fear of rejection so have a rejection plan so that when they come in and they will you open the envelop you keep it in and enact it - be eat two of the best chocolates, buy a pair of shoes, go to dinner with your husband, or have a pity party with two of best mates and drink until you can’t remember the rejection
The Fall/Autumn
-this is the harvest
-doors open – the hardest book to get published is the first
-don’t get the big head (bout the time you think you’re hot snot – you’re cold buggers)
-we are all on the same road – doesn’t get an easier
-all books won’t be perfect (she gave a great quote about a journalist was taking a multi published author to task for the quality of books 5, 7, and 11. The author said that may well be but I have to write them in order to 6,8 and 12)
The Winter
- The warm cosy place – a time to smile. I did what i set out to do
- Learn to trust your gut
- The books are better in your head
- You give away your best ideas
- Creativity is not a bucket – it is a river and the more you use it the more it flows
- Help others – be a guide to others – your best book may yet come out but in others

Jodi's latest book.

8 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Very interesting post. Excellent advice and suggestions, thanks for sharing. Hope the jetlag sorts itself out. I remember having it just the one when getting home from Florida back in 1992. I was ill for a week!!

CJ xx

Jan Jones said...

Brilliant summary, as usual, Liz.

Hope head gets back to normal soon. I'm sure the reason Penderown is falling behind is that you know you have too much else to concentrate on. Just let it simmer on the back hob while you do your chores. It'll be the better for marinating a while.

Don't stress.

Debs said...

Brilliant notes, many thanks.

Hope your jetlag drifts off soon and allows you to gather yourself, but glad to hear you had such a lovely time in the UK.

JJ Beattie said...

Great notes and thank you Liz for the Award. It's cheered me enormously.

ChrisH said...

I think I'm having a long dark night at the moment! Hope all falls in to place for you soon, Liz.

liz fenwick said...

CJ - I've never had jet lag that badly - thank God! With all my travel I'd never be well!

I think today's post, Jan, says why I was struggling with Penderown and it will definately be marinating!

Debs a pleasure to share them :-)

JJ - the award was well earned!

Chrish - hope tha dark night is short - you are doing so much. x

Anita Burgh said...

I sense a perfectionist here. As if writing isn't hard enough, you must be making it harder!
I have a mantra: Relax, let it flow.
I promise you if you can relax everything will settle into place. You are a fine writer, throw the worry over the side. Annie x x x

liz fenwick said...

Annie - you are so right- I am a perfectionist albeit a failed one. I will try and relax more:-) x