Thursday, June 7, 2012

AHA! vs. HUH?

Hi Everyone! Audra here. Can you believe it's June already? This cold weather babe has been SWEATING in all the heat...and Colorado doesn't even have any humidity! Think Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz when I say I'm dying...

Hmm, maybe I can blame (or thank) the heat for my AHA! moment vs my usual HUH? Ever have one of those squirrely moments where all of a sudden you look at some familiar item and see it in a new light? Surely some light bulbs have gone off in your noggin at one point and you look at a situation thinking, “How in the world did I ever miss that?”

Well, last week, I had my AHA! moment with Michael Hauge. (TINA! I think I finally get what the man is saying!)

For those of you who don’t know Michael Hauge, he is a story and script consultant, author and lecturer. If you ever have the opportunity to attend his lectures, sign up fast - in ink - because besides having a treasure trove of knowledge, he’s also quite a humorous fellow. For those of you going to the RWA conference in Anaheim this year, he’ll be giving a workshop on “Uniting Love Stories and Character Arc.” Definitely a session to attend.

Okay, enough semi-gushing, it's time to confess. Michael Hauge maybe the guru of the gurus but I've never been able to apply his teaching to my work. I mean the guy is incredible in person and you leave his lectures feeling like you could write a book in a day. Unfortunately, that euphoria only carried me as far as my laptop. When I pulled up my WIP ready to work magic with words, everything that made sense during his Saturday lecture – and yes, I do take notes – jumbled together on Sunday afternoon and I couldn’t make heads nor tails of all his terrific advice.

It’s been a few years since I attended his last workshop here in Denver. I really don’t think of Michael Hauge often, except when TINA has some reason or other to get all excited over his methods and teaching. Usually during those brilliant bursts of radiant TINA energy and enthusiasm I look heavenward and whisper, “Lord, I just don’t get it.” I’ve tried, but I just can’t conquer…

…until this week.

Let's get back to my squirrely moment. During the last MH workshop, he handed out tip sheets and other cool tools, including his famous bookmark outlining the Six Stages of Plot Structure. I thought this was a sweet little souveneir of the workshop, so I slipped it under my clear cover deskpad – right next to a pic of my favorite dog and the ticket stub of a Chris LeDoux concert. I see the bookmark every day, but never give it a second thought.

Until Friday night. I sat down at my table to tackle a structure issue in my current WIP. I sweep over the pic of the dog, sigh over memories of the CL concert (as I always do) and look at the bookmark. I mean REALLY LOOK AT IT. Suddenly the lights come on and understanding dawns. I’d been struggling over this plot layout for weeks, and in one swooping glance, the answer to my layering problem became clear.

Well, maybe not crystal clear, but the roadmap to shuffling it all together was waving at me like the obnoxious kid in class who always has his hand up and the teacher cringes when she calls on him because of the satisfied I-told-you-so smirk that will inevitably follow the correct answer.

Disclaimer: Michael Hauge is not that child, nor has he ever flashed me that I-told-you-so smirk. Neither has TINA for that matter, although I know she does have very long-suffering patience for me : )

Let me show you what I discovered (click on the pics to make them come in clearer):

The Six Stage Plot Structure divides the book up into percentages. Nothing new about that, we’ve always heard the first 25% is the set-up, the middle 50% is the journey, and the final 25% comprises the black moment and conclusion. But what Hauge does is slice up the process even more. He only gives 10% for set-up and 10% for black moment/conclusion.

But that’s not where my aha lies. Look at the overall layering of the story.

You go from percentage divisions to the different stages of a story. He indicates Turning Points of note and defines what they represent and finally breaks the overall story into 3 Acts.

Obviously you can see that for yourselves : ) My big breakthrough came when I realized I can add rows below this basic structure and map out the journey for each of my characters.

This is a very distilled version of my chart, but you get the picture.

Seeing how each character has their own journey through the story made braiding the threads together surprisingly easy. I finally saw each of the characters as their own person who never had any intention of invading my story or getting to know their spouse-to-be until I roped and hog-tied them into it.

This story is a bit different for me too, since I’m venturing into multiple POVs. I have 4 POVs where usually I work with just two -- the Hero and Heroine. Mapping all my characters out along the same guidelines helped me see where insight into that character was necessary enough to make me switch to their POV.

It also showed me where the conflict would be greatest when all parties converged on the same spot with differing ideals, goals and motivation.

Providing a thread for the inspirational part of the story helped me keep the vision right in front of me. Afterall, I have to consider what God’s part in all this is. What does He want for my characters in order to glorify Him? Remember, the inspiriational thread is NOT an element to be overlooked and only woven in as an afterthought.

Every part of the book needs to be woven together tightly. If a character or subplot is left dangling, either tuck in the ends and make it work, or pull it from the tapestry. This method gave me an easy and convenient way to stack all my characters together and compare the strength of their journys.

Having finally grasped the concept MH has given countless workshops on, I feel complete.

To quote Hannibel Smith from the A-Team, I love it when a plan comes together.

Now it's your turn. Is there a resource on your book shelf that sounded like a good idea at the time you bought it, but haven't had a clue what to do with it for months or years, until one day you had an AHA! moment of your own? Maybe it's not a reference book. Maybe a seminar, blog topic or advice from you best crit partner. (Personally, I'm still waiting for the lightbulb to go off over the whole GMC chart thing and Snowflake method.) Whatever clicked for you, do share!!

If you read the Weekend Edition, you'll remember I claimed to have meandering thoughts today, and I think you’ll agree that’s just what I served up. I always seem to take the long way around to the right answer, but half the fun of writing is in the journey, right? Now that we've come to the end of mine, there's a pot o' gold at the end : ) Share some insight in your AHA! moment and maybe you'll be the lucky recipient of a $10 Amazon gift certificate. I thought I was going to give away two cards, but an AHA! moment struck me and I'll be giving away 3 of them : )

Let's start sharing!!


  1. LOVE the pic!!! You gorgeous gal you!!!!

    As for the question...


    All of them...


  2. The new pic is FABULOUS!
    I will check out this in more detail for sure as several judges urged me to get a better grasp of story structure.

  3. yes, beautiful picture!

    I have a book called 'Your First Novel' by Anne Rittenberg and Laura Louise Whitcomb. There was a chapter in there where LLW takes famous paragraphs from books and rewrites them, badly.

    I always thought they were both just fine. But one day I was reading it again, and I realized why the shortened, sliced and diced, short-hand one was better... Too many words can clog the page, confuse the reader, and basically slow down the story.

    TOO MANY WORDS can be bad. Who knew? :D

  4. Also, just a short note:

    Asking for prayers for my dear friend and his wife who lost a son today in Afghanistan. Matthew was a sweet guy and he and his wife just had their second child a few months ago. Our hearts are broken for them.

  5. I agree with the others on the photo you have amazing eyes.

    I am not a writer but I do know doing study and things on the computer I have had aha moments when something finally clicked. I tend to take things literary, like if it says put the red spot on the blue spot thats what I will do so when it doesn't work I can get quite frustrated and feel a total dummy. When I find out that I was reading it the wrong way and it finally works it feels great.

    I have been used as a tester of some user manuals they were creating for the bookshops new computer system. I was to go through it step by step and comment on anything that wasn't working or needed help. Because I knew my way around the computer I was able to point out areas to help our computer challanged volunteers.

    On at totally of the topic note. I was at the church today and talking some of the ladies who borrow. they are non christians and we were talking about the books. They love them because they are clean, good books. One lady said and they have an inspriational or chirstian message which I really like. I wanted to share this with authors. This is a non christian Lady who appreciates the Christian input.

  6. Virginia Sorry for your friends loss that is so sad.

  7. Virginia, praying for your friend and their family.

    My AHA moment was reading this blog. I won the Michael Hauge lecture on audio last year from the Seekers. I never considered doing what you did to have a better visual of my character development and arc, but I will definitely try this. Thanks so much for sharing today!


  8. Being a compulsive lister, organizer, plotter, I Do SO Get the MH plot help. My story board has a semi permanent layout of his framework (along with Chris Vogler's) and then I have columns for each main character. I can link up plot points with personal moments of motivation and conflict. My heart rate is increasing at the mention of it.

    And then I top it off with the structure of personal growth by Stanley Williams (the Moral Premise).

    I suppose you don't think I do anything spontaneously but I do sometimes have ice cream for dinner. (and it's not even on my to do list)
    (pantsters are lets just focus on how marvelous that new photo is, Audra).

  9. Oh Virginia Mary Ginny, i'm so sorry to hear about Matthew. heartbreaking. I hope he's the last one. We can all pray for the Lord's comfort for them today.

  10. I've been having a prolonged AHA moment regarding deep point of view--something that Audra so kindly pointed out in her 10 page critique of my work that I won during Speedbo. I have gotten Nelson's book and I am hoping that this is what will make the difference.


  11. AUDRA! Tina and I welcome you to "the dark side" - preplanning your story structure! Even though it takes time, it saves me a boat load of headaches in the long run.

    Hauge is great and I also recommend Larry Brooks' "Story Engineering."

    I love the new pic, too!

  12. I hope that God's comfort is with Matthew's family at this difficult time of loss.


  13. Audra, love the new picture! And your aha moment with Michael Hague's plot structure. I have his CD and keep listening. I have that bookmark. Yet never thought to use it as a heading for mapping out my books. Great idea! And I'd guess with four POVs planning is all the more important.

    I'm so happy for aha moments that I'm decorating pancakes with smiley faces this morning. Where's the syrup? The coffee???


  14. Good morning, Audra!

    I'm really, really bad about reading reference books, novel writing books, etc. I know I should, but there are just so many OTHER things I want to read.

    I think I do much better with short articles or even just reading really good fiction where someone does it right. These blogs on writing here at Seekerville help me tremendously.

    As for reading good fiction, I was re-reading one of Liz Curtis Higgs's books just the other day, and studying how she develops her characters. It made me think about what I was doing with mine, and how I could develop them without hitting the reader over the head.

    Virginia, saying some prayers for your friend's family, especially those kids.

  15. Virginia, I'm praying for Matthew's wife and family and for you. So very sorry for the loss of this young man.


  16. Thanks, Audra. I printed out the bookmark for future reference. I plot as I write the first draft and then tie up all loose ends before edits.

    I love those AHA moments.

    Great picture.

    Virginia, I'm saying a prayer for your friends.

  17. AUDRA!!! You just gave ME an AHA moment, darlin', so THANK YOU!!

    You see, I have that Michael Hauge bookmark, too, and like you, it's buried underneath a pile of writing tips somewhere that I never use because like you, I'm more "duh" than "aha."

    BUT ... it is brilliant to use Mr. Hauge's bookmark as a header for our own personal character/plot sheet, so THANK YOU!!

    Like Ruthy, I am not much on writing self-help books -- not because I don't need them -- but because half the time I don't understand them and they stem the flow of my writing rather than help it. I am an emotional pantster who flows like water, but it seems when I focus on "how to's," I get in trouble. BUT ... this is more like a tool rather than a step-by-step instruction, even though it's exactly that in disguise. Pretty pathetic when you have to fool me into learning ... sigh.

    GREAT post, my friend, and VA-VA-VOOM on the new pic, Auds -- GORGEOUS!!


  18. Good morning, everyone! Woke up to an overcast, gloriously cool morning along the Front Range. Hey, I'm ready to face the world, LOL!

    I did a bit of cooking before hopping into Seekerville, so our buffet is filled with scramble eggs, sausages, bacon, fresh salsa, biscuits and gravy, and a platter of fresh fruit. Take a plate and enjoy : )

  19. First--love your picture!

    Welcome to the dark side. The Six Stage Plot Structure is the foundation of life.

    And dear cold blooded Colorado girl. Come on down to Denver. We had so much hail last night the ground is covered in a blanket of white.

  20. Mornin' Carol : )

    Glad you like the pic! A friend of mine started renting studio time to hone his photography skills. I got to be one of the guinea pigs.

    I like being a guinea pig : )

    As for the answer...

    You sound like me : )

  21. Hi Nancy,

    It's really sad to admit, but I had this structure sitting in front of my for YEARS, and it never clicked how I could incorporate it into my own work.

    I KNOW it won't take you half as long.

    I'm such a weeny.

  22. Ha Virginia!! You are talking to the queen of ramble. I need to put tons of words on my page then sort through the ones I want to keep : )

    You've nailed it, sweets. I'm proud of you. Grab a freshly baked cinnamon roll and celebrate!

  23. I hate war.

    My prayers are all over them, Virginia. Sad, sad day.

  24. Debra I do the same thing on my storyboard. For others.

    Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure is also available here..

  25. Six Stage Structure

    Okay hopefully the hot link works. Using laptop today since modem is fried from storm.

  26. Jenny, you are so right, your skills as aha-ing (is that a verb?) can be applied to every aspect of your life.

    Good for you helping streamline a system for user-friendly usage. We all need that : )

    Now, if you could freelance for Microsoft and work on Publisher, I'd be truly grateful : )

    Thanks for sharing about the readers you've run into. Don't you just love how God puts our books into the hands of people who might just stumble onto an AHA moment of their own while reading a novel they think they simply enjoy??

    (Virginia! How's that for a rambling sentence??)

  27. Debra, you're funny. I tend to have ice cream for dinner all the's the 3 course meal I occasionally plan that stuns my family into awe, LOL!

    The transition for pantser to plotter is not an easy one. I resist it every chance I get. But, I'm also tired of writing rings around myself. I know I probably won't use MH to the fullest potential, but small steps complete the journey, right?

    BTW, have you tried ice cream for breakfast? It is dairy and can't possibly have any more sugar in it than some of the cereals on the market.

  28. Hi Annie,

    You won the CD? You lucky girl! I noticed the DVD set was discounted on Amazon the other day. I'm thinking about jumping into the darkside with both feet -- someday LOL!

  29. Piper, thanks for the kind words. You have a great story line, one I haven't seen in a long time. A bit of massaging and you'll be there!

  30. Glynna, understanding the process was a huge eye opener. This is going to take tons of time from my layering/relaying process.

    God bless Michael Hauge.

    One step at a time though. You're promoting me to story engineering when I'm still trying to figure out the floor plan, LOL!!!

  31. Morning Audra, Love the photo.

    Well I think I absorb all the notes, etc. and hopefully they sink in and I apply them. I don't consciously apply them, but I see the results. So I guess they are sinking in.

    Big break through with The Plot Whisperer' Blockbuster Plots

    Tina, send me some of that cool weather. Its been hot here in Sedona area.

  32. Good Morning Seekerville!
    With a special shout to Audra:-)
    Oh my, I'm no writer - yet-, unfortunately. But I can relate to having those 'HAH!' moments.
    Thanks for the post and wishing you a good summer!


  33. Virginia, I will be praying for Matthew and his family. Such a sad loss for all of them.

    Audra, I know it's been said, but I love your picture. :)

    Loved this. The way you explained your A-Ha moment made so much sense! I'm so glad you shared. I've used some of Susan May Warren's books and after going through them, and hearing her teach on the aspects of plot she covers, I am finally starting to "get it," particularly scene creation right now.

  34. 'Asking for prayers for my dear friend and his wife who lost a son today in Afghanistan...'
    Oh my, I just noticed that. Aww.. My heart goes out to them.
    How very sad, but with God nothing is impossible.
    I will be praying, friend.


  35. I love this grasp on story structure and I love Michael Hauge in SMALL DOSES....I can do articles, I tend to throw how-to books (even the great ones) across the room, so Audra, this was perfect!!!

    I love writing multiple POV's. Just love the inborn expansion that gives a novel, but I can also say that learning to write short, crisp romance novels helped me trim the clutter from my verbiage.

    Sometimes. (laughing laughing, laughing!!!)

    Great stuff, Audra, and glad you lived through last night's freak storms out your way... Unless you didn't live through it and this is a posthumous post in which case I'll sing at your funeral.

    Either way, God is good! ;)

    Dropping off cheddar biscuits... experimenting with a recipe to delight the palate!

  36. Virginia, so very sorry for your friends who lost their son. I can't even imagine their sorrow, and I pray God's peace and comfort over their hearts.

  37. Audra, you are making my head spin!

    This sounds ominously like . . .


    Yes, I have MH's cute little bookmarks, too, in easy reach on my desk.

    But I do not look at them.

    Nope, I sort of have them assimilated in the back of my brain, and I can only hope the key points manifest themselves at appropriate times while I'm writing away in my typical pantster style.

  38. Janet, I've got blueberry and raspberry syrup warming. Maybe Ruthy can throw in some maple syrup? She's much closer to the source : )

    I might have to download the CD of MH and listen to it as I walk the dog. I get a lot of thinking done during my quiet time with the dog : )

  39. Oh Stephanie, you are so right! I don't have the time to read long how-to books. I'd rather be struck by an idea and then research myself how to accomplish it.

    And constant reading helps me, too. I love reading books in my genre that challenge me to figure out the author accomplished writing such a great book : )

  40. Ha, thanks everyone on the kind comments over the new pic. I'll have to tell Rick he did a great job : )

  41. Oh Julie, sweets, I have no time to read how-to books, but rather I skim the table of contents or index to see if I can find a chapter that addresses the issue I have at hand...

    ...if I can identify the issue I think I have, LOL!

    Girlfriend, you just keep doing what you're doing because Julie Lessman books are GREAT!!!!!

  42. Great post! I have Aha moments often, being able to retain them is my problem. Reading books on Writing usually boggles my brain. I learn more from reading other writers work.

    My last big AHA moment came while reading a story where the author never ever gave her characters a break. Just when you thought things couldn't get worse they did. I try to make everyone happy in my writing, this author did not and I could not put the book down.

  43. Tina, I've always listened to your's applying it that has thrown the wrench in my plotting abilities : )

    We had TONS of wind last night, but no rain or hail. I hope nothing got dented or destroyed!! I love the cool morning. Hope it lasts through tomorrow. It can heat up over the weekend : )

  44. Sandra, I have the Plot Whisperer but have not had time to study it.

    I gotta tell ya, having a day job really gets into my writing : ) BUT, I do like where I live, and I do like eating : )

    My husband and kids are kind of partial to eating, too : )

  45. You went to a Chris LeDoux concert? Color me jealous.

    I'm still waiting for the penny to drop re Michael Hauge. Maybe someday I'll get it. I think I finally understand what Dr. S. Williams is talking about with his moral premise, so there is still hope for me to understand Hauge. :D

  46. I've attended the MH workshop twice and I LOVED it!! The second time I attended it was a few months ago. He came to give a workshop for our local RWA chapter Washington Romance Writers.

    Not sure if I have an example of an AHA moment, but, I do feel I got more out of the workshop the second time that the first. It's possible that this happened because I'd grown so much as a writer? Not sure!

    ~Cecelia Dowdy~

  47. I just kept thinking...there was a seminar in Denver that I should have attended? I live in Loveland and I have Seekerville authors in the neighborhood? I remembered Tina lived in Denver...where do you guys hang out at? Anyway, I will have to put this on my desk and ponder its meaning. Thanks for the info.

  48. Audra Oh how wonderful it would be to streamline Publisher. I admit publisher 10 is better than 7 but there are things that drive me mad, like you can't set default settings like in word.
    I do our church newsletter and it drives me crazy having to constantly change all the settings and when I think I have it right it changes on me.
    I am actually considering going and retraining as I did 07 and think there must be some easier ways.
    Its freezing here tonight (you needed to know that) we are going for 0 or 32 overnight. Im up cos I started feeling bad but think I am starting to feel a bit better so back to try sleeping. Also wanted to make sure my fire was still burning as tonight is definately the coldest this year.

  49. First of all, Audra, that picture of you is just smokin' hot.

    Second, I think maybe I'm doing it wrong.

    I have no plan.

    I need a plan.

    I'm definitely getting a plan.

    Maybe I do have a plan but I don't recognize it as a plan.

    I think on occasion I've tried to have a plan but a shiny object distracted me and I had to settle for shooting people to proceed.

    A plan would've been better, but alas, I have no plan. I don't think.

  50. Virginia that's such sad news. The price your friend paid for our freedom, we just can never appreciate it enough. God bless her and her family.

  51. I don't know, Audra. I could be wrong, but I just don't think I can write this way. I just can't plot things out on paper this way. I just don't think this way!!! But now that I'm writing proposals, I might have to try this. "Might" and "try" being the operative words.

    I have been in my editing cave for over a week and I'm still only about halfway done. Too bad my deadline is Tuesday!!! Ahhh!!!!!!! Pray for me.

  52. Oh, Virginia, I'm so sorry for your friends. That is so sad. Thanking God for people who are willing to serve in the military.

  53. And I do love the very nice new pic of you, Audra! Love you, girl.

  54. Audra,

    First... let me agree on the picture.

    I've been known to employ the slap my face method, and the crack my head against the keyboard, fast for days and hope starvation brings visions to my head method and there is always the shock therapy method... among others.

    Otherwise my planning is none existent.

    It would be better to ask my characters what their plans are.


  55. Oh and ... Audra what heat are you talking about???

    I got to take a week trip back to Colorado from Arizona. It wasn't much of a vacation as we worked to clean up our property for the next renter.

    But hubby and I loved, loved, loved the cool weather.


  56. Thank you for having the Kindle giveaway for Armchair BEA!

  57. Thank you for all the prayers, friends. It's really all we can do sometimes, is hold them up in prayer.

    His wife said, 'But he was my everything'. She's in shock. And the babies are too little to understand what is happening. He was a very faithful guy, and that is their comfort now, that they will see him again.

  58. Ramble, ramble... Does anybody else think of the old song 'The Rambler'?? Beep, beep!

  59. Thank you for the giveaways!!!

  60. Audra, that pic is gorgeous. Will you still be my friend even though you are THAT beautiful????

    Because folks might laugh at you.

    Seriously, another cookie has found its way to my envious mouth. And it's really good, by the way!

    Does structuring in your head count? Because if it does, then I'm a structured, rule-following person.


  61. Audra, I listened to the CD in the car. Most of my trips are short so I listen to little snippets here and there. I walk with my dh, not a dog. But stay alert. Our granddog was bitten when he ambled into another dog's yard. :-(


  62. Audra, I'm so glad you had an aha moment!! I just love those!!

    And I, too, love your new fun photo!! beautiful!

    I had a sort of aha moment about 2 books back with Randy's Snowflake Method. My aha moment was that it was the perfect tool to help me write my synopsis (at the proposal stage). Now, it saves me so much time!!

  63. I will always be a pantser, I think. But that's how I like to write. It's all in the revision.

  64. I do have AHA! moments-not when I'm writing, but I'm reading the Bible. It's really cool when I understand something I didn't before. :)


  65. I love A-Ha moments. Glad you got one when you needed it, Audra.

    About MH's structure. It makes sense to me...sorta. Like the fact the graphic says a "four-act" structure but the picture only shows three-acts. Throws me off. But it still makes more sense than some others. Got spend more time with it.

  66. Audra, I'm with everyone else. I love the picture! Do you think if I made the trip down there your friend could make ME look that good? LOL!

    I've been delving into MH's stuff - I used some Amazon gift certificates to buy the DVD's, and they just arrived last week. Meanwhile, I used the material on his website to help plot out my next book...

    ...which is currently on hold while I finish revisions.

    (Does anyone else love having deadlines? I never thought I'd like it this much!)

    The plotting worked SO WELL, but made an awfully messy chart when I tried to add in the different POV's. I like what you did with your chart, Audra. Nice and neat :)

    I had TONS of aha moments when I was reading "The Breakout Novelist" by Donald Maass. I kept a highlighter in one hand all the way through that book - and I still pick it up every few days to re-read a chapter or two.

    Virginia - my prayers are with your friends. With three boys of y own between the ages of 18 and 28, my heart just goes out to those who lose their sons this way. What a sad thing.

  67. Ganise! Writing skills are not necessary here : ) After listening to us all, you might decided either you want to jump in...or not : )

    We just love having you!!

  68. Jeanne, I think I have all of Susan May Warren's books and I find AHA moment sprinkled all through them.

    From the Inside Out, now there's a book that made synapses click off in my head : )

  69. Ruthy Bear, small doses is the way to go. No way can I sit and read a whole book on how to expand my writing mind.

    Bookmarks are just the right size : )

  70. Myra, I'm holding tight to my panster status. But keeping an open mind has its merits.

    Except in my mind, I have to remove all sorts of unnecessary clutter first : )

  71. Jamie, great point. Sometimes I think authors who can write like that have excess energy they want to work off.

    Probably why I end up writing lots of scenes with my characters having coffee or going on walks and other boring stuff...then I hit delete and start all over again, LOL.

  72. Audra, this is another print-out worthy post for me.

    I just love seeing things that are linear. The Snowflake method freaks me out.

    Add me in as another fan of the pic.

    Peace, Julie

  73. Audra, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has taken a class or workshop from a VIP and not been able to apply it to my work.

    This happens to me more than I'd like to admit.

    My biggest AHA moment was a few years ago when I decided to give this writing thing a whirl and read as many craft books as I could get my hands on. All of them spewed stuff about goal, motivation and conflict and action and reaction but it didn't make sense to me at the time.(I know...pretty lame)

    Then one day it just clicked and I thought "Duh, I was making that harder than it needed to be."

    Go figure. :)

  74. Virginia, I'm so very sorry. I'll keep them in my prayers.

    I just learned a few minutes ago about the brother of a man who does computer work for our church. The brother stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost an arm and a leg. Please remember him as well as he comes back to the states to recover.

  75. Thanks Audra, and all of you who understand this stuff, please never give up beating me over the head with it! SOMEDAY it is going to seep into my mind and REALLY be there. The light bulb flickers a lot here. I have great hope it's going to click on. Fully!

    Special prayers to those who requested/need it today. Brings things into focus, doesn't it?

  76. Erica, God took Chris LeDoux from us waaaaaaay to early. I'll bet He just needed a singing cowboy in heaven to make Him smile.

    I sort of get Stan Williams, but that's a long shot, too. And let me be perfectly clear, I sort of understand this bookmark,not the whole enchilada, LOL!!

  77. Cecilia, I'm with you. If I can sit through a workshop twice, I absorb more.

    That's why I always buy the conference CDs. I've listened to some of the continuing sessions over and over and over again.

    And continue to pick up new tidbits every time : )

  78. Eileen, I went to the workshop MH gave in Denver a couple of years ago. Very animated character, kept my interest all day long.

    Funny how only NOW I begin to understand what he was talking about : )

  79. Jenny, I love that you came back to Seekerville because you couldn't sleep...that is a good thing, right?

    Publishe has endless possibilities, my problem is remembering which tag to find them under, LOL! I compile the newsletter monthly and I find arranging the information in Publisher is almost as time consuming as writing it.

    BUT, I love the graphic work I can do, so it's all worth it : )

  80. Mary, sweetheart, whatever plan you have or don't have, it's certainly working for you : )

    Maybe if I just start shooting things it will all come together. Whatcha think??

  81. Great post Audra,

    I guess AHA moments come when you need them HUH?

    What inspires me is that you all keep on writing and even get published even though you don't 'get' everything yet. I have loved learning with you.

    Sometimes I forget there is a war going on. Then I hear sad news and yes Lyndee, it brings things into focus. Praying.

  82. Melanie! No rock dwelling for you, babe! Glad to hear those revisions are getting done.

    GO, GO, GO!!

    I'm praying for you, girlfriend then we can tackle the issue of -AHA- plotting, together : )

    Revisions, be done!

  83. Audra, Audra, Aurdra! I must be channeling you today. Really!

    Spent a long but productive afternoon with my cp, struggling yet again with my next story line. I mentioned Sylvia-Sophia-Stephanie a few days ago on the blog and have been trying to determine what happened that keeps her from wanting to return to Freemont, GA. Well, today her internal conflict finally gelled. Halleluiah!!!

    I just finished dinner and dishes and was planning to preview one of Michael Hauge's DVDs! No joke!!! Of course, I stopped by Seekerville first and found you talking about The Hauge!!! He's fantastic. Love his identity to essence technique!

    I've got my little church writing group on Monday and plan to show a MH DVD to the group, but I need to preview it first.

    So you confirmed I'm on the right track. Thanks!!!

    Love your new pic.


  84. Virginia,
    My heart is breaking for Matthew's family. Mom and Dad, wife and kids. So, so sad.

    Asking the Lord to bring comfort and peace and a strong community of support to help them in the days ahead. May the Lord bless them as they grieve.

  85. Hi Bridgett,
    Lucky girl, plotting as you go : ) I don't want to get into the AHA moments I have when I completely plot as I go : )

  86. Tina P! It's been hot, hot, hot!! I don't do well in heat. Give me 10 below zero and I wouldn't complain : )

    My characters do lead me around. I try not to let people know that : )

  87. Ruthy, you live in my heart : )

    Are you sharing your cookies? That will determine permanent residence : )

    And pssst, any kind of structure works, so you're a rock star!

  88. Janet, sorry to hear about your granddog. It's tough when the helpless get hurt.

    My Corgi is not helpless. She bites first. Almost took daughter's finger clean off. How can something so stumpy be so vicious??

  89. Missy, would you please explain the Snowflake to me? I've listened to Randy's CE classes on numerous walks, but still get confused.

    I guess it's not my AHA moment yet : )

  90. Marissa, there are never-ending AHA moments when I read the Bible. No wonder it's a living book : )

  91. Marissa, there are never-ending AHA moments when I read the Bible. No wonder it's a living book : )

  92. Patricia, that whole 4 Act vs 3 Act has me scratching my head, too. I'm waiting for AHA aftershocks, LOL!

    Glad your delving deeper. There is some wisdom there.

  93. Oh, Jan D, don't you just love those revisions and deadlines : )

    So, what do you think of the DVDs? I think I'd like them. Glad you're finding your stride. Makes life so much easier : )

  94. Hey, Julie HS : ) Wow, do I sound linear? Wow. I'm usually such a curly Q, no one can follow me : )

    You and me, we'll gang up on Missy and make her explain Snowflakes to us : )

  95. "Then one day it just clicked and I thought "Duh, I was making that harder than it needed to be.""

    Oh Jennifer -- BINGO! Why do we always do that?? We need to take a deep breath and think simple.

  96. Lyndee, no beating allowed, but we'll always be here for gentle encouragment...unless Ruthy goes on the warpath : )

    (Just tell her you love her cooking.)

  97. Mary, I hear you! Everyone keeps learning. That's what helps us get better!

    We'll all keep learning together, K?

  98. AUDRA! Hubba, hubba, that picture is one gorgeous lady!!

    Had to stop by just to tell you that. :D

  99. Okay, one more to make it an even 100. ;-)

  100. Debby, so glad you worked through the conflict in your next book. That is a total AHA moment worthy of yayayayay!!

    Let me know what you think of the DVD, K? I'm really on the fence over this.

    Tina, any words of wisdom????

  101. Ha, Casey, you silly goose!

    I love you for "pushing me over the top."

  102. I haven't heard a quote from the A-team in years. I watched every episode of the series with my oldest son. Ha!
    I guess I just told my age.
    I've probably gotten most of my Aha moments from Susie May Warren at MBT and Seekerville. I learn so much from you all.
    Thanks for sharing!

  103. Just finished watching the first DVD in the THE HERO'S TWO JOURNEYS DVD collection, by Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler. Very cool! The Hauge talked about the Outer Journey and Vogler went into the hero's 12 stages. The next DVD will focus on the inner journey.

    The Hauge is still my fav go-to guy. Love everything he says!

  104. Love your new photo, Audra! I remember last year when I met you at ACFW (was thrilled to meet some of the Seekers in person) and I told you that "you're even prettier in real life than you are in your photos"--that might've sounded like a crazy thing to say when meeting someone for the first time, but it was sincere *smile*. ~ I have tons of AHA moments when I re-read the Bible--certain passages I've read so many times will suddenly "jump out" at me and become so very clear. I love when that happens! ~ Recently sweet Missy Tippens did my critique I'd won on this blog, and WOW!! Her suggestions and comments really made me have some AHA moments (Thanks, Missy!). ~ Virginia, prayers going up for your friends---so very sad about their precious son. ~ Thank you again Audra--another Keeper post! Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

  105. My Aha moment regarding Michael Hague came at M&M 2010. I had to pick him up at the airport and take him to the conference. Michael Hague was so interesting that I soon found myself saying "Aha! I've missed my exit!" :-)

  106. I figured if I was feeling so bad I had to come somewhere nice. I know Im unwell when I cant read and thats what happened last night. What ever it is hit so quick. one minute I am heading to bed with the kindle to read the next I felt like I dont know what but I felt so bad. Today I still feel not the best but I know I will be ok.

    On publisher got to use it alot this week. Finished the newsletter to have a note with more info!. Well finished yet again and today pastor sends another note! Its finished I hope cos I am about to go and print it.

    Have to visit mum first its her 93rd birthday.

  107. Sending you virtual chicken soup and a hug, Jenny.

  108. I hang out at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch, Eileen!

  109. That's hilarious, Walt. AND I AM SO JEALOUS!!!

  110. Thank you for this post. I can see that it will help clarify. I will take a closer look at this post!


  111. Thanks Tina, I hate being sick. just got a load of wood delivered so need to stack it now.

  112. Audra, thank you for sharing Michael's work...and your inspiration. I really appreciate it as I work on the third in my WWII series....braiding, braiding.

    I just received a rejection a couple of days ago, for a Christmas novella, and was kinda bummed. This perked me up, so thanks again. THREE Amazon that's a nice twist on where you thought you were headed!

    Gail Kittleson

  113. Audra, thank you for sharing Michael's work...and your inspiration. I really appreciate it as I work on the third in my WWII series....braiding, braiding.

    I just received a rejection a couple of days ago, for a Christmas novella, and was kinda bummed. This perked me up, so thanks again. THREE Amazon that's a nice twist on where you thought you were headed!

    Gail Kittleson

  114. I'm not a writer, but I accumulate resources for work because you never know. I love it when I have just the thing I need at my finger tips.


  115. Enjoyed this post! Count me in for the A. card!!

  116. Hey Audra
    BTW, STELLAR author photo! I'm lovin' it!

    Snowflake - I have it and used it partially on the sequel. And I'll tell you, when I didn't follow through like Randy suggests, it showed. Had to stop and go back and finish portions to keep writing.

    I WILL do a better job of it this round. If you do it like he says, it makes the writing easier - this from a now quasi-reformed pantster!

    Please put me in for the drawing if it's still open. I'm late late late! And thanks!!!

    may at maythek9spy dot com

  117. Great post, Audra!

    Most of my AHA moments happen, not during a class or conference, but afterwards when I go back over my notes at home. That's when all the information really sinks in. :-)