Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A pantser plots: from the middle, to the beginning, to the end


Yes, you read the title correctly. This pantser sometimes has to plot. Never in excruciating  detail, but enough to know (sort of) where my story is headed. When 2015 began with overlapping deadlines for two different publishers—NO LIMITS, right???—I knew I’d have to get my act together if I had any hopes of completing these manuscripts on time.

So, with first-round edits on one book behind me, and while awaiting edits on another, when mid-February rolled around, I was ready to begin prep work on the next book in the pipeline. Just in time for Speedbo—how convenient!

Since this will be book 2 of a three-book series, I already knew a lot about my heroine. I hadn’t “met” the hero yet, except as he revealed himself in my two-paragraph proposal summary a LONG time ago, so he’ll take some fleshing out. That will be the fun part.

The not-so-fun part is taking that two-paragraph summary and turning it into a real plot with clear turning points, climax, and conclusion. I (sort of) know how the story will begin, and I (sort of) know how things will end up. But until I start writing, the middle is usually a huge, cavernous void, where anything can happen and discovery is the joy of the journey.

Maybe you noticed the oxymoron in the above paragraph: “not-so-fun” contrasted with “joy of the journey.” Yes, it’s both. And it takes work.

But I digress. Today I want to talk about a method of plotting that has proven to be an eye-opener for me. You can read all about it in James Scott Bell’s book Write Your Novel From the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between.

(Naturally, when I saw the word “Pantsers” in the title, I was instantly intrigued.)

Why does this method work? According to Jim Bell, the midpoint of your book is crucial—“the moment that tells us what the novel or movie is really all about.”* He calls it the “look in the mirror moment,” when the central character takes a hard look at where he’s come from and considers how he wants to change.

In very simplistic terms, all of the first half of the book leads up to this “mirror moment”; all of the second half reveals the character’s transformation. Back to plotting, once you determine your character’s “mirror moment,” discovering backstory becomes organic, and the transformation the character needs in order to achieve that all-important HEA begins to take shape.

Bell calls these three aspects The Golden Triangle: Mirror Moment at the top, Pre-story Psychology at the bottom left, and Transformation at the bottom right.


Bell illustrates the “mirror moment” concept using several examples from books and movies, so after reading his book, I had to try it for myself. I opened my novel Every Tear a Memory (Abingdon Press, October 2014) to approximately the middle of the book, and there it was, Joanna Trapp’s “mirror moment” that I hadn’t even realized I’d written:
[Jack, Joanna’s brother] lifted one shoulder in a helpless gesture before turning away, hands rammed into his pockets. “Why do I even try?”

One hand on the banister, Joanna whipped her head around. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means I feel like I hardly know you. It’s like you’re here, but not really. When you first came home, I could tell you were itching to return to France, and every day when I came home from work, I half expected to find your suitcases packed and train tickets on the table.”

“I would never just leave, Jack. I know what my responsibilities are.”

He slanted her a doubtful glance. “Is that all Lily and I are to you—responsibilities?”

Her brother’s accusation made her flinch. Perhaps because it’s too close to the truth? “I admit I did resent being called home. But not because of you or Lily. This just didn’t feel like my life anymore. I left . . . so much . . .” Her throat closed, and she lowered her gaze to the floor.

“I get it. Your ‘real’ life is back in France.” Jack strode a few paces away. “If you want to return so badly, then do it. Don’t let Lily and me keep you here.”

“You’re not listening to me.” Following him across the foyer, Joanna came up beside him and touched his arm. “I’ve come to realize this is where I’m meant to be. It’s where I want to be.” 

Jack swiveled to face her, his steely gaze sharp as a razor. “Then quit holding out on us.” 

This is the point in the story when Joanna determines in her own mind that, no matter how difficult things get or how badly she longs to escape, she won’t desert her brother and sister again. Everything from the beginning of the story up to now showed Joanna’s resistance to coming home to the life she left behind. Everything from here to the end revolves around her coming to terms with her life and finding hope again as she grows into the woman she is meant to be.

So now I’m in the process of figuring out where the characters in my current work-in-progress are headed. This time, I’ll be making a conscious effort to discover the midpoint—the “mirror moment” for my heroine, since I expect she will have the most at stake, and possibly a secondary “mirror moment” for the hero.

Here’s an experiment for you. Open up the story you’re working on (better yet, a completed draft), or look at a novel you’ve recently read. Turn to the middle of the story and see if you can find a “mirror moment” for the central character. What does it reveal about the character’s growth through the story so far? What does it suggest about the character’s future?

I hope you’ll read Jim Bell’s book for yourself. It’s a short book but power-packed with explanations and examples that can change the way both plotters and pantsers approach their stories. In fact, I’ll give away the Kindle version to three lucky commenters! Just include ENTER ME somewhere in your comment, and I’ll drop your name in the doggy dish.

*Bell, James Scott (2014-02-23). Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between (Kindle Location 71). Compendium Press. Kindle Edition. 


Though Myra Johnson’s roots go deep into Texas soil, she now enjoys living amidst the scenic beauty of the Carolinas, but she does miss real Texas beef barbecue! Empty-nesters, Myra and her husband share their home with two pampered rescue dogs. Myra's awards include the 2005 RWA Golden Heart and two ACFW Carol Award finals. When the Clouds Roll By, book 1 of the historical romance series “Till We Meet Again” (Abingdon Press), won the historical fiction category of the 2014 Christian Retailer’s Best Award. Book 2, Whisper Goodbye, and book 3, Every Tear a Memory, both received 4½-star reviews from Romantic Times. Follow Myra on Twitter at @MyraJohnson and @TheGrammarQueen, and on her Facebook author page.

118 comments:

Helen Gray said...

Thanks for a fresh way of looking at the plotting business.

I'm a plotter, but what I do is only a bare bones roadmap that gets fleshed out as I go along.

Coffee's brewing.

Melissa Jagears said...

I can always add a new way to plot in my arsenal, I'm a crazy one, I like to plot! I wonder if it generally holds true that if you like to plot/edit you generally don't like to write, and vice versa.
Enter me Please!

Cindy W. said...

What an interesting concept. When I have more time I will have to check out the Mirror Moments.

Please ENTER ME for a copy of James Scott Bell's book.

Blessings everyone!

Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I plot mentally. I envision scenes before I write them, and that helps me stay on pace. And once you're writing for a contract, you're forced to come up with a synopsis that outlines the story's path, so that takes the guesswork out of being a pantser.

But luckily the editors don't hold me to a scene by scene description because the book gets a mind of its own as characters develop. People randomly appear. And they influence the plot/the characters. So I'm glad I've got some latitude.

Myra, God bless you and congratulations on those contracts! That's wonderful news! I think juggling makes us stronger. If you never drop a plate... shoot, then you're not really in the game!

Grabbing coffee and getting to work!

Tina Radcliffe said...

MUST GET THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kelly Bridgewater said...

ENTER ME. Thanks Myra! What an interesting concept! I wonder if I have done the "mirror" moment in my books. I will look during my break. I must buy this book. Thank you#

Jill Weatherholt said...

Congratulations on your contacts, Myra!
Since I'm more of a pantser than a plotter, this method sounds helpful.
I'm anxious to start looking for the mirror moments in my writing as well as the books I read. Enter me, Please!

kaybee said...

What a great idea! On deadline for secular job but will definitely look at this later, in my work and someone else's.
KB

LeAnne Bristow said...

OH my goodness! The mirror moment. I love it! I'm a plotter, through and through and I love this concept. I have a scene lingering in my head that is perfect for the mirror moment and can't wait to put write it down now. It's already given me ideas for other scenes. Please ENTER ME in the drawing.

Audra Harders said...

Myra, excellent post about an excellent topic using an excellent writing resource! Thank you!

If there's anything I struggle with, it's plot. This book by JSB is awesome. So many of his suggestions I had already incorporated into my ms, I just had them in the wrong place. Changing things around made a world of difference.

Audra Harders said...

Melissa, your words -I like to plot- sent shivers down my spine. It's not that I don't like to plot, I just can't stay on task long enough to see it through, LOL!

Audra Harders said...

Day job is really cramping my style lately, but I'm consistently adding words to Speedbo...ONE AT A TIME!!!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh WOW, Myra, what a timely post, my friend -- I am days away from coming up with a synopsis/plot for books 2 and 3 in my Isle of Hope series, and I have NO idea what I'm doing for book 3 and very little idea for book 2, so this is a HUGE help!!

I remember that scene from Every Tear a Memory VERY WELL because it was heart-wrenching to read, to see Joanna so torn and a shell of herself in her present because of her clinging to her past. Thanks for the excerpt -- your writing always motivates me, my friend!

Hugs,
Julie

Myra Johnson said...

Good morning, Seekerville! Still getting organized for my day (and adjusting to the time change) so keep chatting amongst yourselves, and I'll be back shortly!

Connie Queen said...

This comes at a good time for me during my Speedbo project. I knew how it would begin and generally what my story is about. But now that I've got past the opening, I don't know where to go. This is one of the first times I don't know how it will end.

Mentally I'll jump to the middle to see where it will take me.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

I'm a panster but I'm working hard on my synopsis today to give me some guidance.

Put me in for the drawing!

Peace, Julie

DebH said...

oh Myra...
ENTER ME

This book looks like something I could use. I'm definitely going to be looking at my MS when I get home to find the mirror moments for both hero and heroine. I would hope both come pretty close to each other.

And I've heard about this before, but somehow it seems clearer to me today - like a light bulb moment. Funny how that happens a lot here in Seekerville. (thank the Lord!!!)

DebH said...

p.s.
the middle is where I always get lost. can't be lost if I start there now, can I? food for thought...

I love Seekerville. It keeps inspiring me.

Sherri Shackelford said...

I struggle with plotting, so I'm always looking for another angle! Thanks for posting :)

kaybee said...

O-K. In my Speedbo WIP, Julia's turning point comes halfway through the book, when she goes undercover at a convent and sees her long-lost daughter for the first time since birth. This is Julia's "no turning back" moment and the moment she also realizes who the kidnapper is. (Spoiler alert, it's the Mother Superior's brother, these people are horrible.) But I don't really show how this revelation impacts her, except for the obvious external facts. So this will give me something to work on. A LOT to work on. Thank you James Scott Bell. And Myra.
KB

Myra Johnson said...

Okay, I'm back! HELEN, thanks so much for starting the coffee! At midnight, no less!

I think "bare bones" is as much plotting as I'm capable of, because the characters tend to have minds of their own about how THEY want the story to unfold!

Myra Johnson said...

MELISSA, I like to write AND I like to revise. Plotting? Not so much.

But there's definitely something so fulfilling to me about taking my "almost there" story and finding ways to make it even stronger. Often it's things I don't see while in the middle of writing but that have become clear as the story takes shape.

Myra Johnson said...

Good morning, CINDY W! Yes, I highly recommend Jim Bell's book!

Myra Johnson said...

RUTHY, I think we "plot" similarly. I've had to learn to think farther ahead in order to write synopses for proposals, but things always change as I get into the actual writing. What made sense in a few paragraphs of summary doesn't always work out exactly that way when the characters take over!

Myra Johnson said...

Yes, TINA, you must!!!!

Myra Johnson said...

KELLY, be sure to report back if you discover mirror moments in your books. I think it's a really enlightening exercise!

Myra Johnson said...

JILL, the beauty of this method is that it works for both plotters and pantsers. It's just a different way of looking at the story arc--what comes before and what comes after that moment of change/realization.

Myra Johnson said...

KB, let us know what you find if you get a chance to look for some mirror moments!

Myra Johnson said...

LEANNE, I'm so glad you're already thinking about that "mirror moment" scene! It really does help to give the story its shape.

Myra Johnson said...

AUDRA, it's an amazingly insightful little book, isn't it? I've read tons of books on the writing craft during my 30+ years in this crazy business, but this one brings all the really important stuff together so succinctly.

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, JULIE, you are so sweet! I think Joanna is one of my favorite characters. Maybe because there's more of "me" in her than I want to admit!

Myra Johnson said...

CONNIE, one of the things Jim Bell suggests is that if you're stuck, go ahead and write that middle scene. It can help you figure out how to get there as well as how things need to go from there to the end.

Myra Johnson said...

Hey, JULIE H.S.! Hope the synopsis is going well. Those things make me insane!!!

Myra Johnson said...

Hi, DEB H! True, we don't always grasp concepts the first time we hear them. And that's one reason it's a good idea to expose yourself to a variety of craft books and writing techniques. You never know which one will strike a chord and propel you even faster along in your writing journey.

Myra Johnson said...

SHERRI, anything Seekerville can do to help . . . ;-D

Myra Johnson said...

Great, KB! Sounds like you've found the crucial turning point in Julia's story arc! Go forth and write!!!

Wilani Wahl said...

Myra, thank you for this post. Please enter me in the giveaway

Yesterday I wrote 2,401 words for a total of 14,064 for the month so far.

I want to thank all of you for encouraging me along this journey.

Myra Johnson said...

WILANI, you're really trucking along--congratulations! I would be beyond thrilled to log 2400 words in a single day. It happens, but not nearly as often as I'd like.

Becky Dempsey said...

Another great method to tuck into my folder! Please ENTER ME for the book! I have no idea if I have a mirror moment. At this point, I feel like I don't have much development in their character!
My Speedbo goal is to fill in the middle of my WIP, so I guess now would be where I need to add in that mirror moment!

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for sharing this new approach to plotting, Myra. Makes me want to grab my books and open my manuscripts to see if those mirror moments are there. I now know when and where the one in my WIP will occur. Your post gave me the clarity I needed.

Jennifer Delamere said...

I'm a plotter, so I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want to have happen at the midpoint. However, I've been having a bit of trouble with the book I just started for Speedbo. I feel like I'm still trying to figure out exactly who my hero is. I will look at him (and the heroine) from this angle and see if that gives me a better handle on it. Thanks!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Myra, congrats on the contracts and for showing us how to embrace the #NoLimits philosophy!!

I'm a pantser who wishes she was a plotter. I already own Write Your Novel From The Middle so please don't enter me in the drawing. I just need to find time to finish reading it. All these craft books are wonderful tools, IF I'd make time for reading them. :/

Audra said "Day job is really cramping my style lately, but I'm consistently adding words to Speedbo...ONE AT A TIME!!!" Me, too, Audra! Me, too!!

Myra Johnson said...

BECKY, finding that "mirror moment" might be just what you need to flesh out your characters. Keep working on it!

Myra Johnson said...

KELI, glad you found a bit of help for your wip! It really helps both ends of the story when we understand the change our characters need to experience.

Myra Johnson said...

JENNIFER, great to see you here! I'm still figuring out the hero and heroine for my wip. Also still trying to discover what my "mirror moment" will be. Sometimes all I can do is keep writing and see what happens.

Myra Johnson said...

RHONDA, I have given up all attempts to become a plotter--it's hopeless! The most I can do is come up with a very general synopsis that touches the high points but leaves plenty of room for development.

Kathryn Barker said...

Myra,

Thanks for an encouraging post and some great ideas for structuring or figuring out if I have a mirror moment in my current WIP. Continuing to plug away on my story...love checking in here, there's always much to learn!

I'd love to be entered in the drawing for this book...thanks.

Jeri Hoag said...

ENTER ME PLEASE! I am a die hard pantser and always stuck in the middle Thank you for sharing this there is hope!

Myra Johnson said...

Hi, KATHRYN! Glad you found some helpful ideas here today!

Carla Olson Gade said...

Please ENTER ME!! As a pantster who plans but often gets stuck in the middle, this is the best advice ever! Thank you so much for sharing about this and I do want to read the book to learn more.

Bettie said...

ENTER ME. This pant stir could use the book. Hey do you like how my phone auto corrected pant stir?

Myra Johnson said...

Hi, CARLA! Yes, Jim Bell's book was a real eye-opener for me. I still have a way to go to figure out the mirror moment in my wip, but just being aware that it needs to be there is helping to keep me on the right track.

Myra Johnson said...

BETTIE! Doesn't auto-correct just make you crazy sometimes? I have trouble typing "pantser" in some programs, too--wild!!!

In the books I'm working on right now, I have some characters who occasionally drop their Gs on -ing words. I finally had to turn off auto-correct so it would leave me alone!

CatMom said...

YAY!! A Myra-Post - - loved it!
And I'm definitely going to get a print copy (don't have an e-reader) of Jim's book--sounds like something I need to use. :)
Thanks so much, Myra.
Hugs, Patti Jo

p.s. I'm using up all my frozen peaches from last year's crop to make room for this summer's bounty, LOL - - so please enjoy the warm peach cobbler I just baked. ;)

Mary Hicks said...

Myra, thanks for sharing this interesting post. I was pleased to find the 'Mirror Moment' in my finished MS.

But I'm still not sure I could start in the middle and work back to it. I'll have to try. :-)

I started with an idea and 'day dreamed' it to the end. I planned to be at that dark moment at about 40,000 then started the resolution. At around 70,000 I was at the point of tying up loose ends and writing the HEV.

Total word count was just 83,000.

I'm very linear—but daydreaming the story did allow some fun twist and turns along the way—but keeping the ending I wanted in sight.

I hit the submit button to ACFW. My first official contest. . . my tummy jumped when I wrote that! :-|

Pam Hillman said...

That is so cool! Sure would help when you're fighting to figure out the middle!

Excuse me while I go stare at the mirror in the bathroom. Very "In the Looking Glass"'isn. :)

Dora Hiers said...

What? Myra's plotting?? Slapping my forehead! What's next? Converting from your Mac? lol. Yes, I had to get that in. :)

ENTER ME please. I'd like to read more about this Mirror Moment concept. Great post, Myra, and congratulations again on your contracts.

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Myra!

JSB's "mirror moment" sounds like Stanley Williams' "moment of grace" (from The Moral Premise).

I love that moment in a story, when the character has an epiphany that changes the direction of his/her psychological/inward journey.

And yes, I'm a plotter :) I love taking my characters to that moment and then using what they've learned to bring them through the rest of the story.

I'll have to read this book!

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, PATTI JO, thanks so much for the peach cobbler--YUM!!!!

I think you'll enjoy Jim Bell's book, but really? You haven't joined the e-reader generation??? You can get a Kindle app for your computer. That's how I read Jim's book, so it's right there while I'm writing for easy reference.

Myra Johnson said...

Yay, MARY HICKS!!! Congrats for hitting the send button!!!

I really haven't been able to do what Jim Bell says about writing the "mirror moment" scene when I haven't gotten that far in the book yet. But I do start trying to envision it now, and that helps.

Myra Johnson said...

PAM, let us know if you have any epiphanies while staring into the bathroom mirror. Mine usually just tells me I'm getting older day by day. :-/

Myra Johnson said...

DORA!!! No, I would not exactly call it plotting. More like . . . envisioning.

And no, no, NO, you will NOT separate me and my Mac! Someday, girlfriend, I will lure you to the Mac side!!!

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, great point, JAN! Mirror moment and moment of grace--I hadn't thought of that! Now I will have to reread Stan Williams's book. Honestly, between his book and Jim Bell's, I can learn just about anything truly important I need to know for writing a compelling story.

Which means I really should get back to work!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow Myra, This is perfect timing for me. I was just sitting this week trying to figure the middle of my wip for Speedbo. I have the beginning and I know the end but the middle. Great idea to just go there and work backwards. Oooooh Thank you thank you.

Myra Johnson said...

You're welcome, SANDRA! Let us know how it goes for you!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

MARY HICKS!!!! I'M SO STINKIN' PROUD OF YOU!!!!!

Go you. Go you. Go you!

Chill N said...

Myra, this is fascinating. In my Speedbo edit, the heroine's mirror moment is 8 pages past the middle. I remember breaking out in goosebumps as I wrote that scene -- maybe the mirror moment is why. My hero's mirror moment is a dozen or so pages after that. I recall thinking, "Well it's about time he got a clue!"

Thanks for this post. Congratulations on the contracts. Any idea when the books will be released?

I'm with you. There's no separating me from my Macs :-)

Nancy C

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jan Drexler, I think you're right about the "Moment of Grace" and the "Mirror Moment".

That self-awareness or self-realization is the gift, isn't it?

I just finished getting my "With This Kiss" historical novella polished with the editorial help from my daughter over at Jamison Editing, and I made her cry with that moment... and that was the intent, but then I made her laugh...

And I was forgiven. :)

That moment should feel like no matter what happens, and where, when, how... the world will come out okay.

In the end.

Chill N said...

MARY H entered her first contest!!!!!! Cheering you on and holding your hand :-)

So many Speedbo accomplishments in today's comments. So much fun to read.

Nancy C

Myra Johnson said...

NANCY C, how fun to get those "goose bump moments" while writing the middle of your book!

Yes, I'm very excited about these two series I've been working on. My first Love Inspired contemporary is slated for a November 2015 release, and the first in my historical series with Franciscan Media looks like it will be out in September. At least that's what the pre-order page on Amazon is saying.

Debby Giusti said...

Myra,
Thanks for introducing us to a new writing resource. Must check my mid-points. Also want to apply the technique to my WIP.

Love James Scott Bell!

Love Myra Johnson too!

Hugs!

Sandy Smith said...

Definitely ENTER ME into the drawing for the kindle version of Bell's book. I would love to read it.

This post has been very useful. The middle is the problem I am having with the novel I am writing for Speedbo. I know the beginning and the end, but I am really struggling to figure out what to do with the middle. I am writing my 1000 words a day I set for my goal and hoping I figure it out as I go along.

Myra Johnson said...

Thanks, DEBBY! I love you too!

Myra Johnson said...

SANDY, you'll figure it out. Congrats on pounding out those words! Just sitting down to write is often the best way to discover what the story is about.

Pam Hillman said...

Sadly, Myra, that about sums it up.

Must go to Plan B...

Jeanne T said...

Whew, I just got home from jury duty. And I loved sitting down to read your post, Myra.

I first heard Jim Bell speak about the Man in the Mirror moment last summer. And I got the book, which is a quick read. Trying to implement this concept has made plotting easier. I love it. :) I'm glad you posted about his book.

Myra Johnson said...

It's a great book, isn't it, JEANNE? And Jim Bell is a fun speaker. I remember being in his class at ACFW a couple of years ago, and I think also at Mount Hermon awhile back.

Jury duty--oh, fun, fun, fun! Do you have to go back? Are you on a trial?

Jamie Adams said...

When I try to plot my brain shuts down just like in high school when I had to solve an algebra problem.
This is a very interesting post, please enter me for a copy of the book.

My SPEEDBO count is not measurable because I am working backwords.(trimming down and rewriting an old old story) I do know one thing this has been an incredible writing month for me. I love Speedbo and seekerville :)

Janet Dean said...

Myra, this is so cool!! Thanks for sharing this. I will give the concept more thought.

Janet

Myra Johnson said...

JAMIE, I know the feeling! Trying to think through a plot is excruciating! I honestly don't know how things will unfold until I'm fully into the story and living it through my characters.

Glad you're making Speedbo progress even it is more backward than forward! Sometimes that's just the way it goes. Good luck with your story!

Myra Johnson said...

Good for you, JANET!

Unknown said...

Ack, now you're making me doubt my plotting... /goes to cry in the corner.
Ahem, anyway.
Good article :) I'm at 45k total, 12k written in March. The discipline of writing every day is good. Sunday afternoon I sat there thinking I didn't want to write a single word, but I did anyway... got almost 4k written that day, by the end of it.
Pam Jernigan

Myra Johnson said...

Now, PAM, don't go second-guessing your plot too soon! I often think everything I've written is pure drivel, until I read back through it for editing. Then I'm often pleasantly surprised that the things I doubted most are actually working quite well!

Great going on your word count, BTW!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Myra,
Boy, your post just jumped out at me today as I'm madly trying to get a synopsis together for Book 3 of my Irish Meadows series. Book 2 came together really well, but I'm struggling with this story. I will have to take a look at this 'mirror' idea!
Please throw my name in the hat. I'd love to read this book!
Thanks for the inspiration!
Cheers,
Sue

Missy Tippens said...

I, too, love this book! I used it on my last novella and plan to use it in the future.

Myra, you example was excellent! I love how it showed up in the middle, even though you hadn't planned it. :)

Missy Tippens said...

That was supposed to say Myra, YOUR example…

Can't let a typo go! Drives me crazy. :)

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

No need to enter me for the ebook, I have it, and I am slowly going through it. I just got to the golden triangle (have to read slower with Speedbo), and so I am so glad you gave your input! I will definitely be looking through some books so I can see that mirror moment. Thanks for your view on it!

Missy Tippens said...

GOOD FOR YOU, MARY HICKS!! I'm so excited you took that big step! :)

Jeanne T said...

Myra, I actually sat on my first-ever trial. Started yesterday, and ended today. Truly a fascinating experience. :)

I heard the Jim Bell class via thumb drive. Loved it!

Mary Hicks said...

Thanks, you guys for the encouragement! :-)

NancyC, I'm with you and Myra . . . don't bother my Mac! :-O

My word count was down today—life happened.

1, 295

Loraine Nunley said...

Please ENTER ME for James Scott Bell's book. It's on my TBR list!

Speedbo Update: Had family visit today, but did manage to get my daily goal done.

Donna said...

Myra, I loved this idea! Thank you for sharing this idea. Please enter me.

Donna said...

Myra, I loved this idea! Thank you for sharing this idea. Please enter me.

jubileewriter said...

What an intriguing thought. Enter me please.
Cindy Huff

Myra Johnson said...

My sincere apologies for not making it back to Seekerville last night!!! My only excuse is getting sidetracked with the usual evening routine around our house.

SUE, I hope this "mirror moment" thing will give you some insight for your book. It really is an intriguing way to look at things!

Myra Johnson said...

MISSY, yes, I was utterly amazed to open my book to the middle and find that scene staring back at me! I've been told I'm an "intuitive writer," which I hope is a good thing in the long run, because plotting and I do NOT play nicely together!

Myra Johnson said...

KELLY, so glad you're already well into Jim Bell's book! It put a lot of things into perspective for me.

All the best with your Speedbo goals!

Myra Johnson said...

JEANNE, I've served on three or four jury trials. Each one is an experience in itself. So educational! Glad you survived!

Myra Johnson said...

MARY H, nearly 1300 words in one day?

NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT! YOU GO, GIRL!!!

Myra Johnson said...

LORAINE, congrats on meeting your daily Speedbo goal in spite of having company! Amazing what we can accomplish if we just plant our you-know-whats in the chair and fingers on the keyboard!

Myra Johnson said...

DONNA, you're in! Thanks for taking a minute to stop by!

Myra Johnson said...

CINDY H, glad you made it to Seekerville! I hope you get a chance to read Jim Bell's book. It's a good one!

Mindy Hardwick said...

ENTER ME.

I always get stuck in the middle of my books, so this is a great way to start in the middle and work from there!

Sparks of Ember said...

What a coincidence - I was just reading about this book on another blog, too. It's funny because I have a plot I've been working on and I have the "mirror moment" (didn't realize it, though) and the beginning but I just haven't been able to figure out where it goes afterward. Perhaps I've been focusing too much on events and not enough on the character? So, all that's to say please ENTER ME! ;)

Jon and Vicki Marney said...

Interesting way to go about it--not sure I could get started from the middle...
Vicki

Christina said...

I bought James Scott Bell's book months ago so I can not enter to win it. However, I let reading it slip through the cracks. I'm definitely going to open up my book to the middle section and see if that mirror moment is there. Thanks so much for this post. I'm going to read that book tonight!

Mark Abel said...

Hi Myra, Reading your post was an eye opener, no wait it was a mirror moment, for me. That moment when you see something described so clearly and simply which makes so much sense. It also got me asking myself what are the mirror moments for the main characters in the parallel plot that I'm writing. I think I see them but will give some thought to adding clarity and drama.

Much thanks again for your post from a fellow Pastster! If it's not too late please include me in your drawing.

Myra Johnson said...

Hi, MINDY! Thanks for visiting! The middle of the book is often the hardest to write, but at least this method gives us something to aim for.

Myra Johnson said...

SPARKS OF EMBER, wasn't it fun to discover you instinctively created your story's mirror moment? I do think that in the most engaging stories, it always comes down to the character, not so much the plot. Good luck with yours!

Myra Johnson said...

VICKI, I really can't start writing from the middle either. I write linearly. On the other hand, I'm always thinking ahead, and the mirror moment gives me something concrete to aim for by the time I reach the middle of the story.

Myra Johnson said...

CHRISTINA, do pull out your Jim Bell book and take another look! It doesn't take long to read and will be well worth your time.

Myra Johnson said...

Not too late, MARK! Yes, the mirror moment is a simple concept with such far-reaching possibilities for our stories. All the best with yours!

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Excellent post, Myra! I have a copy of the book on my Kindle... looks like it's time to move it up in the reading list!

This is very helpful to me since I have discovered that I am NOT a plotter since writing my latest manuscript. I plotted out each scene and it was like pulling teeth to get the words down on paper. All the fun was gone and I am still trying to finish it. I'm excited to try this hybrid of plotting and pantsing. :)

Thanks for the tips!

Leola Ogle said...

I am definitely a pantster. A plotter I am not! I'm the kind that never reads the assemble instructions -- I just put the "thing" together in a way that seems logical to me. (and often go back to the instructions. LOL) But I found this post very helpful. Thanks.

Myra Johnson said...

ANNA, we understand each other!!!!! Really, it doesn't even matter if I try to plot first and write later. Once I start writing, the characters don't listen to a thing I originally told them to do and they do everything their own way, so why waste my time? If I just let THEM tell me the story in the first place, we all get along swimmingly!

Myra Johnson said...

LEOLA, I admit, I usually try to follow assembly instructions (I'm usually the one reading them to my husband while he does the assembling). But often it's intuitive. I mean, how many ways can you put a bookshelf together?

Plotting? Something else entirely! Anything can happen in a story--and in mine, it usually does, with no help from me!

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

Wow.
This is eye-opening, Myra. Thank you!
I just love Seekerville. Always, always learn something.

Enter me. Would like to know more!!!

And congrats to you too. :)

#Speedbo#2015

Janet Kerr said...

Interesting look at plotting. It deserves a closer look.
Enter me, please.
Jan