It's been a slow summer for writing. I didn't know what happened next, and I couldn't seem to bestir myself to care. Part of the problem was overload in the critique department resulting in too many other voices in my head. And another part was the fact that I still struggle with plot and story structure. I have asked many, many published authors to describe their plotting process. Each one gave a different answer. I think that's what makes this subject so difficult to teach, and to learn. The trick is to figure out what works for me.
I have studied books and taken classs and workshops for the past few years and have yet to fling that door wide open and hear angelic choruses confirming that I finally get it. Sometimes I feel like a chick pecking away at an eggshell that won't crack. But I'm close...I can see pinpricks of light shining through.
One resource that has proven helpful is Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks. He does a good job of defining and explaining the elements of a story in a way that makes sense to me. That book has provided several "aha" moments. I'm also looking forward to The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master, by Martha Alderson. Her blog and YouTube video series are both awesome.
It feels good to be writing again. Last week I wrote a (mostly) new chapter and I'm trying to do the same this week. It's been fun and rewarding. I've been listening to the characters and the story instead of the little devil on my shoulder insisting that everything is stupid and I should just give it up. My main critique group has really helped encourage me to climb back into the saddle. Yay, Erin and Emalee!!
Yesterday, I even got some encouragement from a couple of little fans. Two sisters sidled over to me at church and the older one shyly said, "I really like your book, Whose Ears Are Whose!" I thanked her and said I'd try to remember to bring them bookmarks next week. The younger sister earnestly replied, "Wite a note to yusewf." They made my day.
And so now I'm trying hard to listen to the angel on the other shoulder and keep slogging.