Tuesday, March 11, 2014

When a pantser has to plot

Good morning, Speedbo-ers! Myra here. It’s no secret around Seekerville that I’m a confirmed seat-of-the-pants writer. I’ve tried a variety of plotting systems and formulas hoping to find an “easier” way to get my books written, but I always end up ditching them and going with what works.

And what works for me is setting the characters free to tell me their own stories.

That doesn’t mean my stories have no plots. It just means I get to discover the plot as the story unfolds.

(For an in-depth discussion on plotting versus pantsing, check out these posts by Seekerville friend Vince Mooney: Part 1 and Part 2.)

But even a pantser needs a plan, and with Speedbo heading into week 2, if you don’t have some kind of plan for your story, you may find yourself stalling out. At the very minimum, you need to know who your central characters are, what they want, and why they can’t have it (yet). A hard-core plotter will also pre-plan every twist and turn the story will take and know exactly how it will end. If you’re one of those . . .

Ahem. Moving on.

Wherever you are on the pantser-plotter continuum, you may find help from the “plotting recipe” I first learned while taking the Institute of Children’s Literature Writing for Children and Teenagers course. Lee Wyndham, in her book Writing for Children and Teenagers, presents a “Twelve-Point Recipe for Plotting,” which I adapted over time based on what works best for me.

By pondering the following 12 questions, I can begin to get a handle on who and what my story will be about.

1. Who is the main character? Is he or she someone your readers will care about and identify with?

2. Who (or what) is the antagonist? Have you created a worthy opponent, whether in the form of another person or a daunting situation?

3. Who are the other people in the story? In a romance, you’ll have both a hero and heroine, and probably some friends or family members. What roles will the subordinate characters play in your main character’s life?

4. What does the main character want, and why? Is it a worthy goal? Does it suit your character’s situation and personality? Is it attainable?

5. How important is it for the character to get what he or she wants? Is it vital? Are there serious consequences for failure?

6. How does the antagonist prevent the character from achieving these goals? What is the antagonist’s stake in the outcome?

7. What does the main character do about the obstacles? What event sets off the story action? Is your character taking an active role in overcoming the odds, rather than relying on luck or coincidence?

8. What are the results of the character’s initial actions? What new difficulties arise? How will things get progressively worse?

9. What do these struggles lead to? What is the Black Moment, when things can’t possibly get any worse?

10. What is the climax? What hard decisions will your character have to make? Have you made your character strong enough to prevail in the final battle?

11. Does the character accomplish his or her goals or abandon them in favor of something else?

12. What is the theme or central truth illustrated through the character’s action and reaction? What does your character learn as a result of his or her struggles? How has the character grown and changed?

You may not know the answer to every question before you begin writing, but if you keep this recipe close at hand and refer to it as you write, the questions will help you stay on track and grow your story toward its satisfying conclusion.

I have to add one final word of advice from Lee Wyndham’s book:
Never begin writing a story before you know how it will end.
Even for us pantsers who have no idea what will happen in the middle of the story, if you can keep your eye on the ending you want to create for your characters, you have a target to aim for.

Share your story planning strategy in a comment, and let’s talk! One of our visitors to today’s blog could win your choice of a $10 Panera Bread or Starbucks eGift card! Just mention your preference in your comment.


And . . . I’m thrilled to announce my first independently published novel, Pearl of Great Price, available now for Kindle at Amazon.com!

An abandoned Arkansas lake resort holds the key to a young woman’s past . . . and her future.

Raised by her grandfather after her mother died, flea market manager Julie Pearl Stiles promised herself she’d postpone the search for her absentee father until the truth could no longer hurt Grandpa. Then one crazy June day ushers in a series of discoveries that threaten to turn Julie’s peaceful, small-town life upside down. Her encounter with Little Rock socialite Renata Channing seems more than coincidental, but equally disconcerting is her grandfather’s immediate dislike for real estate entrepreneur Micah Hobart.

Haunted by a devastating childhood mistake, Micah turned his back on God a long time ago, but success has proven a poor substitute for the inner peace he craves. Everything changes when he’s blindsided by the outspoken flea market manager who quickly captures his heart.

Renata Channing has devoted her life and ample bank account to helping underprivileged children. But no amount of philanthropy can blot out the emotional abuse she endured at the hands of a mentally ill mother, and all the money in the world won’t restore the precious “pearl” lost twenty-five years ago in the depths of Lake Hamilton.

As Julie is drawn deeper into the tragic past Micah and Renata share, she finds herself questioning everything she’s ever believed about herself, her family, and her future.

Also for your viewing pleasure, these pix of my newest grandchild, Evangeline Joy, born just over a week ago! Isn’t she precious???



Jamie Adams said...

Someone needs to create a 'which seeker are you most like' test like the ones that are so popular on facebook right now.

I took the Children's literature course over twenty years ago and still have all the books. Writing for Children and Teenagers has sat on the shelf untouched for years.

When I try to plot the characters stop talking and wait quietly until I return to letting them run the show.

Tomorrow I'm going to take another look at that book, after I wipe the dust off :)

Helen Gray said...

Coffee's ready.

Good tips, Myra.

But I'm curious. How does a pantser manage to produce a complete synopsis to go with three chapters to sell on proposal?

Just wondering.

Vince said...

When a pantser has to plot
the conflict finally thickens.
All the nonsense has to stop;
it’s time to pay the dickens.

A plot is not just a map
to guide the pantser home;
a plot is a skeleton;
and the narrative’s backbone.

Melissa Jagears said...

Congrats on the grandbaby! Enjoy!

Carol Moncado said...

Oh Myra!!!!! This is SO ME!!!!!

My synopsis before starting:
Boy meets girl
Stuff happens
Boy gets girl

Or the long version
Boy meets girl
Boy gets girl
Boy loses girl
Boy gets girl back
Boy loses girl again
Boy gets girl back again

Doesn't that work?

Passed 25K on Monday :D.

Wilani Wahl said...

I loved this post. since this is a first attempt at writing a fiction book, I know the basic idea of the story and how it will end, but the different directions it is taking while I write is so fun. I suppose I am at the moment both a plotter and a panster. is that possible. I love those questions.

I would prefer Panera over Starbucks if I am chosen.

Today I was able to write 1,079 words bringing the total now to 5,171.

Now it is time to read until I fall asleep. I'll be back on in the morning.

Good night everyone!

Carol Moncado said...

[And must you ask if I prefer Panera or Starbucks?! ;)]

Chill N said...

Oh, Myra, thank you for sharing the pictures! And congrats on the grandchild.

Thank you also for the free download Saturday of Pearl of Great Price. (Great cover.) It's waiting for me on my iPad.

And one more thank you for the plotting recipe. That's an easy enough guide for a confirmed non-plotter like me.

Here's one of my favorite writing quotes -- from William Faulkner: “It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.”

Nancy C

Michelle Matney said...

Great post! I have the book mentioned on my shelf and am going to review it, as I am struggling to find the plotting technique that works for me.
If chosen, I would like the Starbucks card...
M Matney

Vince said...

Hi Myra:

I see Vivian was here ahead of me. She must have seen my name in the post. I’ve been too busy to keep track of her.

I just read a book by James Scott Bell, “Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between” about his theory of starting your book at the midpoint. That’s the hinge point. The point of no return. The point that determines if the character is going to change or backslide into failure. It could be the turning point of the plot or the character’s psychological journey, or other theme. Bell thinks if you start at this key point, you can go backwards or forwards with confidence. It works for both pantsers and plotters.

My theory is if you have to pantser, start with a very rich situation on the first page. Make the situation that the hero and heroine find themselves so interesting and complex that there could be a dozen great stories generated from that same initial state. This at least gives the pantser many options to come up with a great ending.

Just a few ideas.


Marianne Barkman said...

Okay, so writers know how the story will end. Do you have to let your characters know as well? I love it when an author admits that the characters insisted on telling their own story! Thanks for the coffee, Helen. Thanks for the free download, Myra. This means I have two Myra books on my TBR pile!
Starbucks, please

Emily Neyer said...

Myra--Beautiful baby! I would love to snuggle that little bundle!

I just downloaded your book this weekend. I look forward to reading it.

Thanks for the list of questions. I have a general idea of where I want my story to go, but my heroine has a choice to make and I haven't even decided who she is going to choose. But I do have a general idea of how she is going to get there.

Sadly, my years of teaching writing to elementary age students has me writing a story map with characters, setting, problem, solution, and a rough sketch of beginning middle and end. Hazards of the job I guess.

Thanks for the advice! I am learning so much as a writer!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, I love that baby!!!! Myra, you're way too young to be such a beautiful grandma, but you look mah-ve-lous, dahling!!!!! And perfectly wonderful with a sweeeeet baby!

Oh, there was a post here?

Something about writing?????

Pshaw, surely you jest, I just saw the BABY!!!!!!! :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Wilani, good for you!!!! I'm so happy for you, you're rolling here!!!!



(bangs head against a wall...)



You know, it might work for some, I can't see it for myself, I'm wide-scoped in view, but linear as I write. And I'm not a scene-writer, doing this scene and that scene, but I know brains that work that way, and this might work for those peeps, right????

But I wouldn't even try that, because why ruin a good thing? Once you find what works for you, stick with it and write, write, write.

I find the more I feel the story and the characters, the better I can emote the circumstances of the story on the page. And that's what seems to please my readers, heck, it pleases ME!!! I want to feel heart and soul.

But I loved your poem, it's like having you back!!!!! YAY!!!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Carol, it's perfect unless it's a literary novel, in which case add:

Girl dies

As your last plot line.

Darn those happy ending romances!!! :)

Jackie said...

What a beautiful baby! Congratulations! Lots of joy ahead.

Thanks for these great tips.

I have a loose plot. Certain events must happen. Then I see how my characters get to those events.

Panera and Starbucks, two great places to help get through Speedbo. Actually two great places. Have a great day!

Kav said...

Oooh, congratulations Grandmama on both new additions to your family -- the baby and the book.

I like the questions you pose. Will have to go through them later. I'm not a plotter but I do have a clear ending in mind. Things just come to mind as I write. When they do I jot them down and stick them on my story wall in a rough sequence. Does that make sense?

I'm writing a romantic suspense targeting the Love Inspired line so I dissected a couple of their books chapter by chapter and scene by scene -- action, reveal, romantic tension, that kind of thing. Just so I know I have the pacing right...and to keep me on track since I tend to write a lot of unnecessary scenes. Anyway, I charted it all on my wall and when plot ideas occur I jot them down and stick them in the appropriate place. So by the end of the story I guess you could say I'm a plotter, but at the beginning I'm panster all the way.

Kav said...

VINCE!!!!!! I loved it all but especially this:

A plot is not just a map
to guide the pantser home;
a plot is a skeleton;
and the narrative’s backbone.

You are brilliant!!!!

Rose said...

That is such a precious grandma picture, Myra. Enjoy your new granddaughter.

Very sound advice. I have that book. I think I'll go back and re-read it!

Jan Drexler said...

Good morning, Myra!

That is one beautiful baby!

I'm a plotter at heart. I have to have a map as I write. Yesterday I mentioned Susan Meissner's class at ACFW 2012 about plotting your book in 30 episodes - that keeps me on the map.

But at the same time, I love to see what the characters do within those confines. I never know what they're going to say! I think one of my characters has been reading Mary Connealy's books - he always wants to point a gun at someone. :)

Choosing between Panera's and Starbuck's is easy for me - we don't have any Paneras around here, but we always stop at one when we're traveling! Paneras is my choice.

Glynna Kaye said...

Great post, Myra! I love concise checklists and use one to get my brain bubbling on a new story, too!

Love the sound of your latest book (and the cover!). Can't wait to read it!

Love the sweet grandbaby pics, too! Congrats, Myra!

Annie Rains said...

Aw! Congrats on the new grandbaby!!! She's precious!

I'm a pantser turned plotter. I now plot out the major plot points prior to starting my novels. Then I plot before every scene. Prior to writing any scene, I write out the POV character's goal for that scene, their motivation, the conflict that arises and the disaster. It's working really well for me, and keeping me focused on the overall story arc.

Btw, I love your new book cover! Congrats on your first independent novel!

Mary Hicks said...

Myra, the baby is beautiful! No, really, I mean it!:-)

Thanks for the tips on being a pantser who plots a little along the way. That's me. My characters are much smarter than I am. They come up with things that would never occur to me!

I enjoy the story as it unfolds. But I always know where my people are going and I clearly see the end.

Nancy, I liked that quote from W.Faulkner. I'm not crazy about his writing...

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Helen, that's a great question about how does a pantser produce a synopsis...

Well, we plan it. :(

That's the truth of the matter, it's got to pass muster so even the most ardent pantser must plan somewhat once they're selling on proposal.

Melissa has been great to work with on all of this, because once we have the basics down (which can take a couple of tries, and no, peeps, I'm not offended by that! I want my Love Inspired readers happy, happy, happy and that's the gist of my goal. No one knows how to do that better than the editors of a line... They're privy to sales, marketing, etc.)

... back to once we have the basics down, then the story flow is up to me.

And that formula has worked so far.

I found that to be true with Summerside Press, too. Also a joy to work with!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary Hicks, I felt the same way... I love the quote, but have never been a Faulkner fan.


Piper Huguley said...

If I took the Seeker test, I would be like Ruthy, part panster, writing my way through a few chapters and then plotting. However, this works less well for the novella because by the time I write my way in, the story is over, so Bell's book comes at a good time for me and I'm enjoying it.

And like Ruthy, I love the sweet baby too! Congrats! I would be torn, like Carol, but I don't live near a Panera, unfortunately. Or maybe it is fortunate for the pecan braids. Well, I say Starbucks. Have a great writing day everyone!

kaybee said...

Hi Myra,
Guess what? I just finished "When the Clouds Roll By." Nice read! Good period detail, and I especially liked the way you promoted the tension in the dinner scene at the pastor's house. Ew, I could just feel it building. Nice job. I may do a review if I can get out from under, well, the things I'm under.
I am a combination of plotter, punster and puzzle-piecer. I write scenes as they occur to me and knit them together according to the GMC and all that. This brings a temptation to be episodic (see Missy's post yesterday), which I have to fight against, but in several drafts I can get rid of the dross so the gold shines through.
I remember Lee Wyndham. She was a great writing teacher.
Kathy Bailey

Myra Johnson said...

Good morning, all! You know I always get a late start in Seekerville, and adjusting to DST this week doesn't help. Need to pull myself together, pry my eyes open a little farther, and then I'll be back. Until then, keep chatting amongst yourselves!

Missy Tippens said...

Great post, Myra. I love your list. It's a great list of questions to ask when stuck! A nice way to get past that panic time I have in the early middle of just about every book when I'm not sure what needs to happen next. :)

Love the sweet baby shots!!! She's beautiful.

Missy Tippens said...

Vince, I bought Bell's book and look forward to checking it out. Like Ruthy, I'm very linear, so it'll be interesting to see how it works for me! :)

Eileen said...

Thank YOU! I love the 12 checks to plotting when you are a pantser. I took the list and posted it above my desk; and love the poem Vince.

Mz.ZeyZey said...

Great post, Myra. I'm just getting into plotting my stories. Your list of question is very similar to the list I have. :-)

With my new WIP, I knew what the hook was and H/H names before I started. I took the time to get to know them: their looks, what they want more than anything, what's preventing them from getting what they want, etc.

The second thing is ask myself one question: What changes? I ask this question twice; once to find the beginning of the story and once to resolve the conflict so the characters get their HEA. Once I know who they are and what two major changes take place, I can build the plot.

I am able to plot better once I have a feel for the characters because I can better identify how they will react to each other and the things I throw at them. Knowing my characters and knowing what has to happen, I'm able to find scenarios in which those two elements fit together.

In the past I've been unpleasantly surprised when I plotted and then came up with characters because sometimes the characters wouldn't do what the plot required. So far, this new method has only yielded pleasant surprises.

I would like to be entered to win a Panera Bread gift card. :-)

DebH said...

Perfect post for me. Boy, do I need help. I've discovered I'm a pantser.

Your Granddaughter is beautiful as has a lovely name. Your indy book has an awesome cover! Thanks for the freebie download - I snagged it an am saving it as a SPEEDBO goal reward. (yay!)

I took that Children's Institute class um, over fifteen years ago (yeeeks! just figured that out and the time frame scares me). I know I have the class materials lurking about somewhere...

I think I'll stick to your list you've so kindly provided. I'm not readys to stir up any dust-bunnies.

Starbucks for me. I'm not sure where the nearest Panera place is (yeah, I know... shocking).

SPEEDBO count for last night: 888 words. now I'm going to go wander off and figure out how over 15 years passed since taking that writing class. Oy vey...

Myra Johnson said...

Okay, I THINK I'm ready to face the day!

JAMIE, that would be fun, wouldn't it--"Which Seeker are you most like?" Those Facebook tests are crazy-fun, and I have to wonder how the creators came up with their system!

And I do have to give credit to ICL for teaching me the basics of writing craft and market research. I still have all my course materials (somewhere . . . ).

Myra Johnson said...

HELEN, thanks as always for getting the coffee perking!

Oh, goodness!!! Writing a synopsis for proposal is a terrible ordeal for me! It takes a lot of thought, and often I need to write those first chapters to even begin to get a feel for where the story will go. Then the synopsis is pretty much a broad (and I mean VERY broad) overview of sort of maybe what might happen. I always leave myself plenty of wiggle room!

Myra Johnson said...

VINCE, leave it to you to turn the pantser/plotter conundrum into poetry!

I also just read Jim Bell's book on writing your novel from the middle, and it was extremely eye-opening! If I'd read it a few days sooner, I might have tried to incorporate his ideas into this post.

So, everybody, just add somewhere in this list of questions what you envision as the midpoint of your story, when the main character comes to a significant moment of decision and it's either go back to how things were or forge ahead.

Myra Johnson said...

MELISSA, thanks! How are things with your little one?

CAROL, oh, wow, I totally relate! Your "synopsis" works for me!!! Congrats on reaching 25K! (Wish I could say the same, but I've, um, been kind of distracted with the new grandbaby in the house!)

Myra Johnson said...

WILANI, yes, you certainly can be both a plotter and a pantser. I think Jim Bell calls those "tweeners" in his new craft book (mentioned by Vince). Some of us "pants" until we need more direction, and then we plot a little and go back to pantsing.

Or we make very general plots (see CAROL's outline above) and then fill in the blanks with pantsing.

The bottom line is:


Myra Johnson said...

CAROL, if I had to guess, I'd say Panera. Just a wild stab in the dark.

Jeanne T said...

Congratulations on the arrival of your grand baby, Myra. Sooo precious! :)

I loved your post. Those twelve tips make perfect sense. And I like how you applied them to adult fiction as well. I think I'm going to need to copy this and print it out.

~I plot the big picture aspects of the story. I get to know my characters.
~Then I begin with their home world (and the something missing in their lives)
~Inciting Incident
~Help them define their noble quest
~A number of obstacles to keep them from their goal and how they handle each obstacle
~Black moment
~Their epiphany
~Their HEA.

I make sure I have these elements in place before I begin writing. It's just what works for me. :)

If I happen to win the drawing, I'm a Panera girl. :)

Myra Johnson said...

NANCY, I love-love-love that Faulkner quote!!!!!!

Thanks for downloading Pearl. I am so excited about finally getting this book "out there." Now I'm just hoping it gets a good reception. It has been through many revisions and reincarnations, but when the idea first came to me and I began the writing, this is the story when I first felt as if I'd finally found my voice.

Myra Johnson said...

MICHELLE, I have to say Wyndham's book remains one of the clearest I've ever studied on the craft of writing. It may be geared for writing for children, but even so, it's full of excellent instruction on the basics of writing, applicable to all genres.

Myra Johnson said...

MARIANNE, even knowing how the story will end (hey, if it's a romance, that's pretty much a given, right?), there are so many paths the characters can take to get there.

Speaking of romance, I'm still amazed at how many readers really can't predict who Annemarie will end up with in my novel When the Clouds Roll By. Writing it, I thought it was blatantly obvious!

Myra Johnson said...

EMILY, if your story map is working for you, stick with it!

Thanks for downloading my new book!

And thanks for admiring my sweet baby granddaughter! :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Set them freee!!!! Yes! Go Myra. Or Grandma, as the case may be.

Myra Johnson said...

RUTHY, you are too kind! What's crazy-crazy-crazy is I've got this cute little bundle of grandbaby-ness right here, and also a 19-year-old grandson who just enlisted in the Navy!

So, um, yes, I am plenty old enough to be a grandmother. ;-)

You know, I'm a linear writer, too. But I think I can actually think about the middle. Like, what choice my MC might have to make somewhere along the way to either stay the same or change. A moment of truth. I think it's almost like the Moral Premise. A decision has to be made about embracing virtue or vice.

Myra Johnson said...

JACKIE, I like that plot. Certain things must happen. Then they do. Then the story ends.

Yes, I must write this down and refer to it often.


DebH said...

Just saw something on cnn new pages that caught my eye. Sounds really, really cool.

Free Amtrak travel for writers

Now I really need to get back to work. ;(

Myra Johnson said...

KAV, if you are jotting scene ideas and sticking them on your wall, that sounds suspiciously like plotting.

Bravo for picking apart LI suspense novels to see how they're put together. I bet you write a good one!

Myra Johnson said...

ROSE, it is a good book. Lots of valuable nuggets tucked inside!

Elaine Manders said...


What a beautiful baby! How can you get any writing done at all with that little joy in your life?

I had an entire plot, the beginning and ending already written, but the characters went off on two new sub-plots, a good thing or I wouldn't have enough words...or worse, a sagging middle. So I use both techniques.

Just passed 23K on my goal. Can't believe I'm almost up with Carol Moncado. Starbucks for me.

Myra Johnson said...

JAN, I have to agree--my little baby granddaughter is BEEEEE-eautiful!!!!

I would keep an eye on your characters, though. Pointing guns can be dangerous.

Myra Johnson said...

Good morning, GLYNNA! I keep thinking I'll come upon THE checklist that will make this writing gig so much easier. A foolproof plotting system that I can plug my vague story idea into and it will pop out a full-fledged novel.

Ha. I am a dreamer.

Writing is work, no matter what system you use. We might as well get used to it.

Myra Johnson said...

ANNIE, I am now officially banging my head against the wall. That is too much planning for me!!!

But as we keep saying in Seekerville, DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

Thanks for the congrats!

Janet Dean said...

Great post, Myra! Excellent questions to jumpstart our stories!

I'm tickled to have Pearl of Great Price on my Kindle! I'm way behind with my reading, but want to know more!

Evangeline Joy is beautiful and aptly named.


Myra Johnson said...

MARY H, I think our characters must travel in the same circles, because mine are smarter than I am, too. Remember Art Linkletter's show, "Kids Say the Darndest Things"? That's kind of like my characters. They come up with the darndest stuff to say and do in their scenes!

And I just keep typing....

Myra Johnson said...

PIPER, I'm thinking about a novella idea, so I can already see the problems I'll face in getting quickly into the action and winding it up in a LOT fewer words than I'm used to!

And if you want to be like Ruthy, well, that's up to you. As long as you don't share her bossiness.

Myra Johnson said...

KATHY, I'm honored that you enjoyed Clouds! And so glad you felt the tension in the scene you mentioned! That was a fun one to write.

I don't preplan my scenes, but as I write them, I do keep in mind that the scene must have a goal and serve a purpose toward the overall story development. That helps me avoid episodic tendencies.

Myra Johnson said...

MISSY, sometimes it helps just to think through the questions, even if I don't have substantial answers right away.

As for Jim Bell's book, I think you can benefit from thinking about the middle of the story and still be a linear writer. Just like knowing how you want the story to end, you also start thinking about what the midpoint will be and the personal decision your MC will have to make at that juncture.

Myra Johnson said...

EILEEN, glad you found the "recipe" helpful!

And we all love Vince's poetry. He is a wise man. Even if he is a plotter.

Myra Johnson said...

MZ.ZEYZEY, I think you would really like Jim Bell's book on the middle because he talks about knowing the three key plot points of your story.

And I've been there when I had a plot idea in mind but my characters wouldn't cooperate. That's why I can't plan a whole book, because when I'm trying to write toward a specific plot event, the characters often decide they have something entirely different in mind. No matter how hard I push and pull and prod, they just won't go where I want them to!

Which is why I stick with pantsing.

Connie Queen said...

LOVE the cover, Myra.

I like your last point about knowing the ending.The wip I'm working on, I know generally what's going to happen-- killer has the heroine in a bad situation. Wow, how great is that? But I don't know the details. I've been googling the ten worst ways to die and have found a lot of depressing ways to go. I still don't know what I'll use...

Myra Johnson said...

DEB H, the ICL course for me was in the mid-'80s. Yep, way, WAY back there!!! The very first lesson I learned was single POV. My first story was all over the place, POV-wise!

Thank you for the compliment on my indie book cover. It's a DIY (I'm a control freak that way), so I was hoping it would go over well. I just love the expression on the girl's face!

Tanya Agler said...

Dear Myra, Congratulations on your newest family member. Your granddaughter looks very precious, smiling with those sweet blankets for a backdrop.

Whether one is a plotter or a pantser, I think those are great questions to ask. Even with my outline, those questions just brought one point about my present WIP home to me: my heroine who helps others so much has to learn to accept help from others.

I'm writing this in a Panera (which would be my choice), having just reached my goal of 1000 words for today (and watching my Speedbo total grow day by day).

One thing I have to add to one of the previous posts (that I loved by the way). In literary books, the girl dies and it's raining.

Have a great day. Thanks for the blog.

Myra Johnson said...

JEANNE T, in the "olden days," I printed out copies of these 12 questions with space between them on the page so I could jot down my thoughts. That would become my story outline. It worked especially well when I was writing short stories for children's magazines.

You've covered all the important points in your basic outline, too. If you know the inciting incident, the changes you want your characters to experience, and the HEA, you're well on your way!

Myra Johnson said...

LOL, TINA--another "freedom writer"!

Myra Johnson said...

DEB H, yes, I saw something about the Amtrak writers retreat the other day! Wouldn't that be so fun???

Mary Connealy said...

Myra your twelve questions seem...a lot like plotting. Are you SURE you're not a plotter?
Yes, everyone should know which they are but some of this plot/plan stuff is sneaky.

Myra Johnson said...

Way to go, ELAINE! You gals are way ahead of me! Yes, it's a bit distracting having a new grandbaby in the house. Not to mention her big brother and sisters! I can close my office door, but I can still sort of hear what's going on in the rest of the house.

(The baby is a LOT quieter than the big kids--LOL!)

Myra Johnson said...

JANET, thanks for downloading my book. I'm so excited to now be a hybrid author!

Hmm, that sounds kind of horticultural . . .

Melanie Dickerson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Myra Johnson said...

CONNIE--LOL, researching ways to die???? I bet Mary could give you some pointers on how to kill a character. Most of them would involve guns or avalanches, though.

I hope your heroine survives!

Myra Johnson said...

TANYA, "the girl dies and it's raining." Love it!!!!

Yes, it's important to figure out what your MC will learn as a result of what happens in the story. Change and growth is crucial to the story arc.

Congrats on meeting your word count goal! I have yet to start on mine today. Must get busy this afternoon!

Myra Johnson said...

I agree, MARY, sometimes plotting and pantsing overlap. At least a little. I can THINK about these questions without really answering them in detail. So they guide me but they don't fence me in.

Myra Johnson said...

MELANIE, that's as much of a strategy as I usually ever have!!!


Melanie Dickerson said...

OMG! I was just reading a book about "Pam" ... so sorry, Myra!!! I definitely know your name! I deleted that comment! Haha! But here it is:
My story strategy, Pam(MYRA!)? I'm supposed to have a strategy? Oops. Maybe that's why I've had such a hard time diving into Speedbo. I'm still trying to get a good grip on the story, but I have started writing. I know my heroine, pretty much have my hero figured out, am starting to understand my villain, and I have a couple of major turning point scenes in my head. I know (pretty much) how it will end. But I would like to figure out a few more twists before I get too into it.

That doesn't sound like a strategy, does it? Sigh

CatMom said...

Oh Myra....those pictures of your new grandbaby are making me SMILE!! Even though I've viewed pics on Facebook, I am SO glad you posted a couple on here today (and I must add--in that 2nd one, you look as if you could be her mother---you look GREAT!).
Thank you for sharing these tips today---as a pantser I needed these. I've tried to plot, but it just doesn't "feel right" for me. Even though I have some general ideas of what will happen (unless the characters decide otherwise, LOL) and I always know the ending, my scenes tend to happen as I go along.
CONGRATULATIONS on your newest book!!
Hugs from Georgia (where it's like Springtime today!), Patti Jo

Myra Johnson said...

MELANIE, no problem, sweetie! Been there, done that!

PATTI JO, I am SO with you on the pantsing thing! My scenes always happen as I go along. I do need to know some general stuff about my characters and the direction the story will take, but what happens along the way is totally dictated by where the characters take me.

Mary Hicks said...

Myra, thank you for the wonderful gift of your new book! I can't wait. :-)

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Needed this, Myra.
THANK you so much.

Though, I'm sorry (?) to say that I have no idea how my books will end until my characters tell me. This is sooooo interesting, how we arrive at writing! Truly fascinating!

I was totally a pantster on book 1, but worked with Snowflake to help me on 2&3. Saved quite a bit of the rewriting, but still, I don't seem to finish plotting it all. I can see where it would be easier but my brain doesn't work this way. ACK!

Glad to know that others don't work that way either. :)

BEAUTIFUL grandchild, and G'ma! Thank you for sharing...

And congratulations on the new indie! Welcome to the dark side. Bwwaaahahahahahaaa! It really is a wonderful thing, but hard.

Panera please, should I be chosen!

Happy Speedbo-ing all!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Thanks for the tips, Myra!

And congrats on the book and the baby! Both are lovely!

Don't enter me in the draw. No Panera's here and not a big fan of Starbucks. Give me Tim Hortons any day!

Going to use your questions to help me plot the end of my book! This is one of those that I have to pull teeth to figure out what's going on! LOL.


May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Jamie, this is a terrific idea on the which Seeker are you most like test! I've not seen that book you and Myra mentioned. Will check it out!

Helen, on the synopsis, for we who indie pub, not necessary. Always a good idea to write one I think, but I tend to write it after the fact, not before. However, selling on proposal isn't an issue for me personally. Looking forward to how others answered.

Vince, your poem is cracking me up.

Just starting on the comments obviously. :)

Emily Neyer said...

I didn't get as much done yesterday as I had hoped, but I did get to work on it some. But I was a little busy last night setting up my new laptop! I figured that if I was gonna take this whole writing thing seriously, I needed to get a computer that wasn't on the brink of death! So I am right about 9100 words. When I dusted off this story a few weeks ago I was at about 4500 so I have doubled it. That has to say something!

Myra Johnson said...

Hope you enjoy, MARY HICKS!

KC, that's what happens to me when I try to plot, especially using something like the Snowflake. I might get a few blanks filled in, but then my mind goes, um, BLANK!

Myra Johnson said...

SUE, I hope the questions prove helpful. If nothing else, they might get your mind working in new directions, and sometimes that's all it takes!

Tom Hortons? That's a new one for me!

Myra Johnson said...

EMILY, I will soon have to invest in a new laptop. My MacBook Pro is going on seven years old, I think. It's as upgraded as it can get, and the hard drive is nearly full. I have such a terrible time getting rid of stuff because you just never know . . .

And with all the digital photos I've got stored on here over so many years, and all the photos yet to come of that grandbaby, it's time.

Yay for the progress on your word count!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

What I like about Snowflake is it MAKES me think about these things, because it all needs to be thought about...

Writing it DOWN however... Not gonna happen until later in the process.

Besides, I'm only a co-author. They really are May's stories. What she comes up with I surely wouldn't. ;)

Off to the races.

And please thank your grandson for his service. Thank God for our amazing men and women in uniform, and their families. We pray for you DAILY.

Myra Johnson said...

Thanks, KC! And give sweet May a pat for me!

Yes, we are very proud of our #1 grandson. He's always loved the water and for a while dreamed about joining the Coast Guard, but it didn't work out. It will be exciting to see what adventures the Navy has in store for him!

Crystal Ridgway said...

Great post, Myra and beautiful granddaughter. She is so precious! I am a confirmed pantster. Hmm... Don't start a novel until you know the ending? About a month and a half ago I finished a novel at 90K words... and I'd started it with ONE SENTENCE!!! I had no storyline whatsoever to go with it.

I don't know how anu one could ever like writing literary. I'd CRY if I had to kill my heroine at the end of the book.

Myra Johnson said...

Good for you, CRYSTAL! Glad you finished that novel--and a girl after my own heart, starting with just one line. Isn't it amazing (and fun) to see where our imaginations take us?

Moment of insight. I'm reviewing the page proofs for the final book in my historical romance series for Abingdon (coming out in October), and I just came to the middle of the book. Amazing! There it is--the turning point Jim Bell describes in his book we've been talking about! My heroine "looks in the mirror" of her heart and realizes she has to make a firm choice to change. Now there's no going back to the way things were.

Mary Connealy said...

Jan, is it MY FAULT you've got a gun happy character???


Myra Johnson said...

Of course it is, MARY. Of course it is.

Debby Giusti said...

What a precious baby, Myra! I'm in love!

So happy for you and Grandpa...and the proud parents.

Plus, a new book! Whoot! Gorgeous cover. Love the blurb. Know I'll love the story as well.

Thanks for your list of points needed in a compelling story. Perfect to ponder as I work on my next synopsis. Pulling out hair, but then I always do when I'm struggling to flesh out a story.

Do pantsers have more fun? Just asking. LOL!

Myra Johnson said...

LOL, DEBBY! At least with pantsers, every day is full of surprises!

Actually, I think pantsers and plotters do an equal amount of hair-pulling. Just at different stages of production. ;-)

Vince said...

Mary wrote:

“Myra your twelve questions seem...a lot like plotting. Are you SURE you're not a plotter?”

Which makes me think of the old Russian proverb:

“Scratch of pantser and underneath is a plotter.” Or was that, “Scratch a Russian and underneath is a peasant.” I’m not sure. Maybe Virginia knows which is the right proverb.

Then Myra wrote:

“No matter how hard I push and pull and prod, they (characters) just won't go where I want them to!”

Which makes me think of this famous exchange:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."

I’ve just had a satori!
A mirror moment!
Could this mean that plotters have dominant personalities and pantsers submissive personalities?

I can already see this in a novel. The Bellian ‘mirror moment’ occurs when the heroine, an abused aspiring writer, makes this D/s observation and vows to become a plotter! She changes her writing style (which mirrors her life situation) and by developing a strong sense of writing self-confidence and by using ‘creative visualization’ to ‘see’ her story (and life) flow into the future to a glorious outcome, goes on to win a RITA! She also finds happiness with a hero who loves her as an equal. I love her already.

I can even see the title! “The Bossy Editor”.

I really have to get back to work!!! I have 200,000 words to edit while grading correspondence courses. And I can’t read for more than an hour at a time.

Seekerville makes me think too much!
My thoughts want to get away from real estate and writing and writing and writing.
Are my thoughts making me a pantser! Must I follow them or must they follow me?


P.S. Janet: how do you like Vivian’s picture? I just fell in love with her because she looks so much like Adelaide in “Courting Miss Adelaide”. That book has my favorite all time cover art.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Also want to echo what Vince said about the James Scott Bell book, Write Your Book from the Middle. I am reading it now, and it is helping me as I try to get a handle on my THEME ... that all important thing we talked about last week, and on where to go with my wide-open middle that I'm not sure how to fill! This book is helping me a lot.

And Myra, I just wanted to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE your granddaughter's name, Evangeline! I'm definitely going to have to use that name in one of my books.

Melanie Dickerson said...

P.S. BTW, Myra, I had thought I could delete that other comment before you saw it! LOL! I have to embarrass myself a few times a week to keep myself humble, I guess. Ha!

Pam Hillman said...

Or the long version
Boy meets girl
Boy gets girl
Boy loses girl
Boy gets girl back
Boy loses girl again
Boy gets girl back again

Carol, this works for me. Wash and repeat until the end.

Myra Johnson said...

Hold your horses, now, VINCE. I don't like where your story idea is going. Betcha I could check the list of RITA winners and find plenty of pantsers!!!

Seekerville makes you think too much?? You make US think too much!!!!

Myra Johnson said...

MELANIE, I really had some "aha" moments reading Jim Bell's book. I think it meshes quite nicely with The Moral Premise.

Speaking of baby names, our kids were making list upon list of names and took forever to agree on one! We weren't sure what they'd finally decided on until after Evangeline was born. (I don't think they were, either!)

Pam Hillman said...

In answer to the question, which Seeker are you most like...

We'd have to pigeonhole the Seekers first.

Oh joy.

Myra Johnson said...

LOL, PAM!!! I must remember this "longer" version of the romance outline.

I wonder which Seeker Vince is most like . . .

Pam Hillman said...

Generally, I have 4 major turning points throughout the book, roughly at the 25%, 50%, 75% and the end.

If pressed, I can tell you what they are. And, hopefully, they'll kinda-sorta land in the right places.

If not, then I'll pretend what DID land there was the plan all along.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Carol Moncado said...


I happen to know Emily is very serious about this thing ;). I can't wait to see which way she goes with it!!!!

I told Robin Carroll - like publicly on Facebook - that I needed 5K today.

I'm at just over 450. I should get to work... Sigh...

I even have /rubs hands together in evil glee/ good stuff coming!

Carol Moncado said...

And Myra - I keep meaning to say what an adorable sweet one you have there!!!!!

I have a writer friend who had her baby last week but she's like HOURS AND HOURS away from me and I can't go hold her and help take care of her so Mama can rest :(.

Carol Moncado said...

Pam -

Christina Rich helped me do that last week ;).

Speaking of... her book sorta jumped in my cart at Walmart today :D.

Myra Johnson said...

Planning turning points? Yikes! Once again, I confess my pantser-ness. My stories have turning points, but they end up there by intuition and not much else.

Hey, pantsers, let's just start calling ourselves intuitive writers.

Myra Johnson said...

CAROL, you were hoping to write 5K today??? Go, girl! I'm up to 628 words this afternoon. Hoping for 1K-1.5K if all goes well. With all the popping in and out of Seekerville, I keep getting distracted, though.

At least it's quiet around here this afternoon. The baby's family (including baby!) all went over to the clinic for some shots. They need rabies boosters before returning to Ethiopia in a couple of months. Evangeline has to have a series of 3 rabies shots--oh my!!!

DebH said...

Pidgeon-hole the ladies of Seekerville? Um, wouldn't that be sort of like herding cats? I mean, the ladies are each so unique, one could only p-hole 'em after much difficulty.

That being said, I think I'm most like Mary Connealy - except I can sleep anywhere at the drop of a hat and I'm not near as prolific (probably because of the sleeping thing, zzzz...)

Myra Johnson said...

DEB H, do your story characters continually shoot at people, too?

Haven Brown said...

I was just plotting a my story on paper because I was stuck so this is helpful information yet again from Seekerville. Thanks.
I just started reading Pearl of Great Price. I'm slightly biased with the story because I live in the Ozark mountains and I think they are so beautiful. People around here have a scrappy streak that is unique to the area. I love reading a book about a place I know now and again. I'm super excited to finish reading the book.
And Myra, your grandbaby is beautiful. My chem teacher's grandbaby was born a week ago at 2.3 pounds. Next to her is a baby that was born at 12 oz.

Myra Johnson said...

Oh my goodness, HAVEN, what tiny, tiny babies! Evangeline came out a healthy 8 pounds 14 ounces!

I hope you enjoy Pearl. We vacation nearly every year in the Hot Springs area, which is also where my Abingdon Press historical romances are set. It's so beautiful there, and I loved writing about that setting!

Pegg Thomas said...

Thanks for the timely words! I'm spending today working out the ending of my story as I - ahem - do my plotting. ;)

Myra Johnson said...

Way to go, PEGG! Hope it's going well!

Carol Moncado said...

HAVEN! I must have missed it! Ozark Mountains? Me too :D. Near Springfield...

Yes, Myra. Attempting 5K but kids are home for Spring Break.

Wilani Wahl said...

I am making good progress today. I am hoping to exceed my goal. I like the term intuitive writers!

Myra, I love the picture of your new granddaughter. She is so adorable. Thank you for the free book on Saturday. It is on my to be read list for sure.

I just had a neat e-mail from Hannah Alexander saying she liked my review of her book on goodreads and she offered to mail me one of her next books so I can review it early. I am having a good day!

Myra Johnson said...

CAROL, writing with kids at home is tough. Hope you're making progress!

WILANI, how fun that you're going to get an early review copy! Glad you're on track to reach your word count goal today. I'm happy to say I've made mine, too!

Julie Lessman said...


Babies, indie books, plotter recipes with 12 questions to kick-start any wannabe plotter, and even a poem by Vince.

Sigh. It just doesn't get any better than this!

LOVE the grand pix, my friend -- she is flat-out ADORABLE, and you're not bad either, grandma! ;)

Love, Love, LOVE these tips/questions because after writing two different family sagas where the plotster took the pantster in me by gunpoint, I can now finally set the pantster free again, which means I WILL need this post!!

Can't WAIT to read "Pearl," my friend!!


Chill N said...

MYRA! I love the term 'intuitive writer' and am immediately adopting it. Some time ago, there was a post about how writing without a plot is like writing into the mist. Hence, people who write that way are 'misters.' I thought the term 'mister' was great ... but it leads to so many misunderstandings :-)

Intuitive writer. Intuitive writer. Love it!

Nancy C

Myra Johnson said...

Thanks, JULIE! (Although I'm wondering what kind of live-wire a "free Julie" is going to turn into!)

NANCY, I like "intuitive writer," too! I've also heard the term "writing into the mist," which is okay, but I agree--"mister" is just a wee bit weird!

Cara Lynn James said...

Myra, what a gorgeous grandbaby!

I'm keeping all those questions. I ask most of them, but just to be sure I'll keep them close by.

Myra Johnson said...

Hi, CARA! Even when I can't fill in all the answers, the questions help me think things through.

Just passed 1500 words this afternoon and feeling pretty proud of myself! Some writing days are definitely better than others.

Natalie Monk said...

Downloaded Pearl of Great Price just a few days ago! Excited to read it!

Love the sweet picture of your grandbaby!

Myra Johnson said...

Thanks, NATALIE! Hope you enjoy it!

Terri said...

Myra, I used to be a total panster and chaos reigned. It just didn't work for me. I'm still not a plotter, but I do have a list of things I want to happen and the order I want them to happen in.

Beautiful cover, but that grandbaby outshines it. She is adorable and I love her name!

Please toss my name on the hat for the gift card.

Myra Johnson said...

TERRI, as long as your method gets you the results you want, that's all that matters!

We love our little baby girl, too!

LoRee Peery said...

Enjoyed your post, Myra. I'm not a morning person so when I turn on my PC I have to get right to my WIP. Today I did double duty because I went outside yesterday (it was 78) and didn't write a word. I just logged a little over 2000 words and have a wonderful place to start Wednesday.
I only had an idea the last couple days of February. What comes to me first is either the heroine or the setting. I have developed what I call a beginning a story file and I go down the steps. Once I have the concept and fill in the GMC blanks, I start on the character charts. I often find pictures and do a collage and then go back and finish those Charts.
I brainstorm, write out ten possible opening sentences, then go on to an opening scene and what I want in the closing scene. What I did over this past weekend was note what I wanted to accomplish in each chapter. Those chapter notes help with the synopsis.
everyone has a process, I believe I'll switch some of my lengthy forms to the way Chery St. John suggested in her how-to book. In the past I've concentrated on scene ideas along the way, but so far each book has been a little different.

Myra Johnson said...

LOREE, you have quite a system going there! Sounds very organized. Like you said, everyone has a process. It's worth trying out different methods until you find what works for you. And it could change from project to project.

Linda Marie Finn said...

OK, I'm back !!! I did editing today and it seems that when you changed thing you sometimes have to add more words to say what you wanted to say. So, I am up from my 6,403 words to 7,138 tonight ! That was in just four hours time. I am writing in first person in my story, so many things need to be revised in some areas. I was told I have a more powerful story in first person and that it is a very strong story that every girl should read. I am hoping girls and mothers will read. so I see we are plotting, hmmm no real plot to my story as its based on reality. I would love to win a Panema Bread Card, how cool could that be, totally awesome eats.
New Grandbabies everywhere it seems ! I got one on Jan 2nd. congratulations !!!!
Hey Jules, I added some more pics in the 30's folder and writing ideas to my writing ideas folder on pinterest, check them out.
Just Search Faithful Acres Books !
Missy, that book by Tricia is a great book and the book chat was fun too. Every writing Mamma should read it.
Well I am off to write more tonight.
Hugs to All
Linda Finn
Faithful Acres Books

Mark Abel said...

Myra, thanks for your excellent article. It is reassuring to discover I am not the only one who writes by the seat of my pants! However I now understand there is a term for that, and that I am a Panster.

I'm a new author working on my first novel, (about 75% complete - taking advantage of Speedbo to press for the finish). I recently generated a reverse outline of what I have written so far, thinking it might help with plot trajectory. However I found it to be more of a hindrance and have set it aside.

I do know how the story will end and have a general idea of the path to get there. Each time I write by the seat of my pants the story surprises me and I seem to have a feel for which scene to write next.

I also found your list of plot questions to be very helpful and I now have them printed out and close to my keyboard.

Your article was a confirmation for me to press on so much thanks again.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Did Pam say she plans her turning points.... like, mathematically?????

At percentage points?????

(Drops head into hands and sighs, loud and long....)

Let me just raise my hand and say half of this is Greek to me, but I'm good at smiling and nodding and pretending I can talk the talk, because....

The important thing is to Walk-the-Walk... and that means we need to stick with it even when we're not sure where we're going!

We are the bulls-eye in the middle of #Vulcan's Northeast push so I'm expecting a bunch of cute out-of-school kids (everything's closed...) and 12-18" of snow and 30-50MPH winds.

A real Nor'Easter by the time it spins around, so if you DON'T HEAR FROM ME FOR A WHILE.... Come dig me out. Please???? :)

But my Christmas book is almost done, so maybe I should thank the weather for creating a "mood"!!!

Olivia said...

Thank you, Myra! Even my husband who knows little of the writer's lingo said today, "You really are a pantser." That said, yesterday I wrote my conclusion and that enabled me to move forward with the mystery. I am copying your 12 principles on card stock to put inside my computer cover so that I can make sure I am considering those questions. Please enter me in the starbucks contest, writing brings forth a new found taste for coffee. I have also started reading "A Pearl of Great Price" your free download. Thanks again..

Olivia said...

BTW, how can you possibly write when you can hold that beautify baby?

Myra Johnson said...

LINDA, glad you are making steady progress on your story!

MARK, nice to meet another "intuitive writer"! It's fun discovering your story page by page, isn't it?

RUTHY, I'm with you on banging heads over Pam's percentage points. I mean, really?????? Stay warm and out of the blizzard!

OLIVIA, glad your husband gets you! That always helps--LOL! Thanks for downloading and reading my new book. It's a personal favorite!

Myra Johnson said...

About holding the baby? Well, with six other people in the house wanting a turn, I get plenty of breaks. ;-)

Jana Vanderslice said...

LINDA! They having writing tips & stuff on Pinterest??? I LOVE pinterest! That is very dangerous info!
I am using a one page graphic organizer story map. While I'm working on the story map, I scribble notes & arrows all over the place. I'm a visual person, & I like having it all on one page.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Myra, that list of questions is invaluable! Thank you for sharing it! And congratulations on your granddaughter! What a cutie!!!

Pat W said...

Myra, your new granddaughter looks so sweet and adorable. What a blessing!

I have learned I am definitely a plotter. Speedo update: 7470 for the month.

Sandy Elzie said...

I enjoyed your article...and the picture of your sweet granddaughter. I love the list of 12 items, especially since I tend to pantser...at least until the middle and then have to get down to the nitty-gritty and plot everything out to be sure I've covered all the GMC and they're nicely on their way to my desired conclusion.

jubileewriter said...

Twelve great tips. I started my novel as a pantster but I am trying some character interviews and planning for my next one. Love your granddaughter's name. My heroine is Evangeline.
Sign me up for Paneras. I am passing this info on to my critque group. Thanks for sharing.
Cindy Huff

Janet Kerr said...

A great list of questions Myra.
Thank you.


Myra Johnson said...

Catching up this morning--many of you stay up WAY later than I do!

JANA, I consider myself a visual person, too. It really helps to see things--maps, drawings, photos. I like to find pictures online or elsewhere to represent my characters before I get started writing. Still finding my way around Pinterest, though. I'm sure I could use it much more effectively than I am so far, but everything takes time!

Myra Johnson said...

EVA MARIA & PAT W, thank you! We're pretty crazy about that little girl!

Way to go on the word count, PAT! Um, have fun plotting!

Myra Johnson said...

SANDY, sometimes you do have to stop in the middle and take stock of where the story is going. Rabbit trails can be soooo tempting for us pantsers!

Myra Johnson said...

CINDY, we like our new granddaughter's name, too! Waiting to see which nicknames evolve from it.

Interviewing your characters or writing first-person bios is a good way to get to know them. I need to have at least a general idea about my characters' backgrounds before I begin to understand their goals and motivation.

Myra Johnson said...

JANET KERR, thanks for stopping in! I hope you found some helpful tips here.

Haven Brown said...

Carol, I'm south of Springfield. How do you guys still have a spring break!?!? I feel so super connected ;D
And Myra,the babies are in a hospital at Little Rock. They save premies so small all the time.

Dee LeRoye said...

Tonight I get to sleep! I only let myself read when I go to bed....took me 3 "nights" to digest Pearl of Great Price. Tremendous book. If I can't lay it down and go to sleep until after midnight, you know it HAS to be good.

Lyndee H said...

Love the picture with you and your dear baby girl. Congratulations!

Tina Pinson said...

Yep, it's official, you have a cute grand baby there. And the post wasn't bad either


I am pretty much a panster who writes down fine points from time to time. And I still handwrite most of my stories.

I went through the Children's Institute course as well.

Tina Pinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara Ella said...

I love that quote by Lee Wyndham! I think it's so important to know where you're going first. I'm a little bit of a panster and a plotter. I have to write when I get the urge but I also have a whole notebook of outlines and notes, character profiles and floor plans, hero's journeys and word lists. I would love to be entered in the giveaway! Going on vacation next....woohoo!

Myra Johnson said...

DEE!!!!!!!!! I'm so glad you enjoyed my book!!!!


Myra Johnson said...

LYNDEE & TINA P, thanks for recognizing my new granddaughter's beauty. She comes by it naturally--LOL! (Meaning I have a beautiful daughter--2 of them in fact!)

TINA P--another ICL grad? Yay! But seriously, longhand??? I've gotten to where I can only think when my fingers are attached to a keyboard.

Myra Johnson said...

SARA, it's fine to be both pantser and plotter. You do what works for YOU. I like lists and pictures and maps, but when it comes to the actual writing, I just have to let it all go and regroup later.

Have a great vacation! I need one, myself.

Mary Curry said...

Myra, I can't even remember if I posted here earlier in the week, but thanks so much for this post. Definitely what I needed to read as I write on.

And loving the beautiful grandbaby photos. Thanks for sharing!