Thursday, January 28, 2010

Plotting 101 (Quite Literally)...

...In which we learn that the elements of a strong plot are primal.

My two-year-old daughter Lucy told her first story yesterday. She sat her doll, Elizabeth, on her lap, wrapped her arm around the doll's shoulder and began:

"Once upon a time..." (My favorite opening line!)
There was a little girl named Elizabeth. (Ta-da! A main character for us to follow. General age established, too.)
(Insert much babbling which even a mother cannot interpret.)
Then she went to the marketplace. (A setting!)
Aladdin was there. (Ooh, a love interest.)
(Sorry, more babbling. We'll have to imagine whether or not they end up together, but I suspect there was a wedding and a long, pretty dress at some point.)
She had a castle. (A little late arrives the set-up. We see what Elizabeth's life was like before...)
Aunt Regina broke the castle! (Conflict! Loss! Poor homeless Elizabeth!)
But then Aunt Regina put the castle back together. (Resolution. A complete arc.)
Oh, and there was a monster. (Oh, yeah, there's supposed to be a bad guy...)
He had scary eyes. (...and we should make him as bad as possible.)
The End."

Hmm...We'll have to work on the logical arrangement of these elements when she's just a little older.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A lovely little map


What is it about writers and maps? I don't know a single writer who doesn't love them...
...I based a book around one.
This is a map delivered by a spy to the American forces before the Battle of Princeton in January 1777. No one knew exactly who that spy was... which is way too intriguing for me not to write a book about.
I'm halfway through revising my "Revolutionary Romance" The Bee Hive, but finding this picture again is pushing me through the hard parts.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Inspiring thought of the day....

...from one of my favorite books, Emily Climbs, by L. M. Montgomery:

"There isn't any such thing as an ordinary life."