Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Middle Scenes

Oh the glamorous life of a writer. First I drop off the entire family at work, daycare and school. Then I sit down with my favourite mug full of steaming hot tea, check my email, decide that the plot I wrote on Saturday while stretched out in front of the fire feeling ghastly was, to put it politely, absolute crap.

So sitting on the floor, hairy dog by my side, I pull out my white board, clean it off with a bit of unused tissue and redraw my boxes very neatly. I know the start of my story. I know my characters. And because it's a romance I know that in the end my characters end up with a big fat happy ever after. So how do I get my characters from point a to point z in a meaningful, logical and yet interesting way?

Well the other thing I did while feeling rotten (I still feel rotten BTW--can you hear me moaning again?) was read Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. Now I am familiar with these concepts. I've read numerous writing books and listened to a gazillion workshops. The information in GMC is presented in easy to understand language and I didn't really think I was learning much, until...

"When you're planning a book, think about the middle of the book too, not just the beginning and the ending. Look at your GMC and ask yourself what kind of lesson your hero has to learn. And what kinds of scenes will give him the experience he'll need to draw upon when your book reaches the climax."

Ding. Having written mainly romantic suspense stories in the past I have had a villain to play against, a villain for my protagonist to fight against to provide character growth. Trying to write straight romance means I have to dig a little deeper into the structure of the middle scenes because I want to create specific character growth in a short amount of time. I can't waste any scenes.

I mean seriously--who said writing romance was easy? So after plotting my entire novel I reworked Chapter 1 and then I noticed the thick dust on the top edge of the keyboard, which was a bit yucky. So I cleaned it. And after that I had to put the tea on and fold the laundry pile (which was bigger than me), pick up DD etc etc etc.

Just another day in paradise :)


  1. Sorry you're not feeling well, Toni. I think I caught a cold after the Nickelback concert - my throat is killing me. But it was so worth it *g*

    In my vague imaginings of being a writer (a loooong time ago) I always thought the middle, or the guts, was the most challenging part to make happen. I knew how it started and where I'd want it to end up, but getting there was not easy. For me, it proved I didn't have what it takes to be a writer. For you, it's what brings your work to life. Keep on keepin' on.

  2. Sounds like a pretty darn decent writing day in all, Toni :) Hope you feel better soon, though.

  3. I agree with Loreth *and* at least you've got Clive hanging around to keep you company while you're feeling miserable with this cold.

    Feel better soon!

  4. GMC is a great book to read - and having met Deb in person (she gave a workshop for my chapter's conference) she is an awesome gal. Hope you're feeling better!

  5. Sorry your sick. I had a migraine myself yesterday. I think its the kids, we should get rid of them posthaste.

    Before I write, I figure out the beginning, the middle and the end. I go with my word count and figure out where I should be at a certain point. Since romance isn't my primary plot anymore, its actually easier. Plotting and conflict are simpler than the entangled relationship issues.

  6. Ugh-hope you feel better soon! Half my office was away sick yesterday and today, so I know for me, it's only a matter of time. LOL

  7. I hope you feel better soon!
    As a non writer, I have no useful advice to give. But, I do wish you luck.

  8. LOL. Yes--a good day :)

    Ames--don't get sick. It is a PITA.