Showing posts with the label plots

Drat! Another Idea

  People often ask authors, "Where do your ideas comefrom?" Answers will vary. Ideas come from the present. The past. The news. Local gossip. Ancient stories. Out of nowhere. I hit a kind of hiatus this week. The next Maggie Pill book is done, at least until my eagle-eyed beta readers get their hands on the author copies and make their corrections. The next Peg Herring book, tentatively called Aunt Marge, needs time to rest. I believe that, like a roast just out of the oven, a book requires "sitting time," a period where the author puts it away and thinks about something else. In a month or six weeks or whatever, it will read differently, which will bring about all kinds of tweaks and improvements. At least, that's what I preach and practice. Those two things mean, however, that I have nothing to write at present, and nothing to edit either. I had told myself I'd concentrate on reminding readers about my older books as well as helping "Maggie" pus

Here's What I Don't Get

I've been seeing ads on my Facebook feed lately that claim to help you generate plots for your novels. I guess my question would be "If you haven't got a plot, why do you want to write a novel?" A novel needs a plot, a reason to exist. As a reader I get tired of  some "literary" novels that tell a lot about how a person feels and how he got that way without the person ever doing anything interesting. Many books that are hailed by critics as "stunning" and "evocative" fail to hold my attention because nothing happens. Even a plot where things happen will disappoint me if those things are unbelievable or disappointing. A main character who kills had better have a reaaaaaalllly good reason for it. And both the murder and the resulting events must be logical. Here are some examples that disappointed me, despite the author's skill with words. I fully admit I'm in the minority here, because all of these were successful books; some

Plain Talk For Writers: A Sense of Place

No, I'm not talking about book settings, though they're important and wonderful when done well. I'm talking about YOUR place in the world of writing. If you're published, you probably already have an idea of where you fit, and it probably bothers you a little that it isn't where you'd like to be or where you thought you'd be. If you're not yet published, you should spend some time thinking about where you will fit in once you show your work to the world. Before publication, many writers have an inflated idea of the importance of their work. I'm approached all the time at book signings by people who claim they have the next bestseller in mind or in progress. The fact that they tell me about it is a hint that they don't know the process at all. There's hope in their eyes, a fantasy scenario where I grab them by the arm and say, "Wow! I need to tell my agent right away about your completely awesome idea." Well, I won't. In