Unlimited possibilities @ Your Library® … And In Our Writing
Missy, here. I hope you’ll join us this week as we celebrate National Library Week. Here’s a bit of information taken from the ALA’s website: “First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.”
I hope you’ll all thank your local librarians for all they do!
Speaking of celebrations… We’ve just finished a month of Speedbo. Congrats to those of you who typed ANY new words, even if just a few. And I mean that heartily. Those few words are still more than you had in February. Congrats, also, to those who accomplished edits and polishing—anything you did to make your manuscript ready to submit or publish.
You know, most of us raced through that first draft or edits, creating, revising or editing. But now April is here, and I feel myself slowing a bit. Catching my breath.
Let’s not lose the drive that pushed us to increase our word count. But in honor of National Library Week, let’s also take a moment to breathe and look at possibilities.
Yeah, I know. Some of you may be thinking Unlimited Possibilities isn’t much different from our Speedbo motto of No Limits. But I think it is. For me, unlimited possibilities means stopping for a moment to look at all the different directions we can go in our writing. That can be at the level of career/publishing decisions, genre decisions, novel decisions, scene decisions and other decisions (like pacing, structure, and word choice). For this post, I’m talking about plot and scene choices.
Sometimes, all those choices can be paralyzing or overwhelming. This time, though, the thought of many possibilities inspired me. I want to share something I tried a week or so ago.
For most of my writing career, I’ve done most of planning before I write. Then I use Scrivener’s corkboard feature to plan each scene. I usually work a chapter or two at a time, planning three scenes for each chapter. Then I go write those scenes. Then I go back to Scrivener to plan some more. (What I mean by “plan” is: Figure out my pov character’s scene goal, the conflict for that scene, and the change that happens whether positive or negative—ie. the temporary high or the disaster.)
But last week as I was doing major revisions on a proposal (following critique), I finished planning a chapter, then lunchtime hit. So I made my plate and came to the family room. I was going to turn on the TV to watch The Chew for a few minutes while I ate, but instead, I started thinking about the upcoming scene.
Sure, what I had planned would work fine. But what else could happen? With the term “Unlimited Possibilities” in my head, I started picturing potential scenes in my mind like a movie. And you know what? I thought of something better that could happen. I ended up going back into Scrivener and re-working my scenes and changing up the chapters. I think it’s better now.
What does unlimited possibilities mean to you?
As I was discussing this with the other Seekers, I asked for their input so I could share it in my post.
From Ruthy Logan Herne:
I look at the emotion of the moment, and how that character might react. Would he get angry first? Disappointed? A combination of the two? Will mixed emotions hassle him? Or, if he's an easy going type, does he start with a bear hug? A gentle chuck on the shoulder? So much of how the next scene goes depends on the character's arc. If he/she is wounded and has trauma in the past, this incident might stir that. And warrior types will react differently (and spin a different thread) than more thoughtful beta-types. When I let emotion drive the scene, it helps it fall into place more quickly!
From Julie Lessman:
Nothing helps me explore the direction of a scene like dialogue, and nothing helps me explore dialogue like the treadmill. Whenever I’m stuck in a scene or plot, once I get on the treadmill, it seems the dialogue/ideas start pumping along with my legs. I keep a pad and pen handy and scratch them down quickly, then continue exercising with that scene in mind. For me snippets of dialogue is key, often taking me directions I had no intention of going. In fact, the treadmill is so effective in accomplishing this, that whenever I’m stuck in my writing, Keith tells me to go downstairs and exercise. Of course I’m hoping it’s because he knows it helps ideas to flow and not that I need to lose weight. :)
From Debby Giusti:
I write a fast first draft and then slow down to revise. Often that means improving dialogue, adding better action tags and upping the emotion and suspense. The first draft gives me a framework on which to build my story. Having words on the page helps me see the holes and gaps and places that need to be reworked. Revising refines the story and leads to the finished product that’s ready for my editor’s review.
Missy again… So what about you? Do possibilities overwhelm you? I’d like to challenge you to take a moment to look at your story. Try to dig deeper. Think of other possibilities and see if you can come up with something unexpected. Don’t be afraid to make changes! You may just end up with something you like a whole lot better.
I’m so excited that I have a new book from Love Inspired coming out soon! I had so much fun with this book! It’s a fish-out-of-water story about a bachelor whose cousin leaves him stuck caring for a nearly newborn baby. He might just have to ask for help from the last person on earth he wants to talk to—the town’s new pediatrician. :)
You can read an excerpt of The Doctor's Second Chance here at my website!
GIVEAWAY! Lots of excitement this month with The Doctor’s Second Chance coming soon as well as the two With This Kiss anthologies just released! So I’d like to celebrate today by giving away one digital (e-book) copy of each (three winners). Please tell me in the comments if you’d like to be entered.
The Bachelor's Baby...
Jake West's troubled cousin leaves him with a most unusual parting gift—her newborn baby girl! And now the small-town contractor is forced to seek help from the very woman he resents—the new big-city pediatrician who practically stole his uncle's practice, Violet Crenshaw. Violet knows she shouldn't be consorting with the enemy. But she can't resist the adorable baby and her handsome new caretaker. Violet traded her chance at motherhood for her career years ago. But raising a family with Jake could be everything she's ever wanted.
Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, is the author of eight books for Harlequin Love Inspired and was nominated for a Romance Writers of America 2013 RITA® Award. Her most recent release from Love Inspired is The Doctor’s Second Chance. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com, https://twitter.com/MissyTippens and http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers .