Monday, August 19

The Plot Thickens--that's a good thing, right?

I'm filling in for Liz today, but I hear she'll be back next week to regale you with her own adventures. 

Two weeks ago, I woke up with a story idea—with a complex, developed story idea.

And it captured me so much that I spent the next week or so plotting. While my idea of plotting is more like brainstorming—it was just writing down plot points and ideas on where the story might go. It was still more plotting than I usually do. 

I even wrote a query or small synopsis as a guide to remind me where I want to go and what I want to accomplish.

Why the planning? Because this is a plot-driven story—a story of family secrets, relationships, and history. 

I wrote Bix because he started talking and wouldn’t shut up. I wrote Bix because I love that kid. And while I hope to sell his story and write many more adventures for him, I’m not going to write another Bix book until something happens with the first books. At least that’s my plan now that I am enamored with another project.

Anyway, back to my plot book. As much as I feel as if I’m out of my element, the writing seems easier as to the storytelling than Bix did. Maybe because I didn’t have an ending in sight when I wrote Bix the first time, the second, the third—

At the Willamette Writer’s Conference, one of the workshops I went to was given by Larry Brooks and he said that knowing how your book ends is essential—that you need to know where you’re going in order to get there. I believe there’s something to be said about that—you know, knowledge.  And after doing it the hard way—sometimes impossible way—I’m looking forward to trying it this way.

So for your amusement, I’m posting my guiding light—the query/synopsis:

In danger of losing her softball scholarship because of an injury, 20-year-old Emma Watkins is exiled to her grandmother’s home in Baker City, OR, where she’s to prep the home for sale.
Good news: She gets to be on her own.

Bad news: Her grandmother’s deteriorating mental capacity has led to hoarding—as in, it’s going to be a long three months.

Never close with her grandmother, Em discovers letters that detail years of heartbreak and secrets her grandmother has hidden for over fifty years. Determined to gain an understanding of woman who has shown her little more than indifference, Emma begins investigating her grandmother’s history.

What she learns will ultimately reunite a broken family and teach Emma the truth of love and how to recognize it when it’s he’s standing right in front of you.

That’s a working synopsis and who knows, it could change tomorrow. But for today, it’s the light guiding me forward.


  1. I love this! I see no reason for me to come back Monday, BTW--I think you started the week off better than I do! Thanks for covering for me. Can't wait to see more of this story.

  2. Ahh shucks, Liz. Thank you :) And you will see some of this story soon. I want to get a number-to-be-determined chapters in and then I'll be subbing it to you girls.

    It's a whole new ballgame for me--and that's a quasi-clue about one of the plot histories. Hmmmmmm

  3. I *love* this idea, Margie! Sounds like an amazing read...

    I don't have any great plotting tips because what you've done here is basically what I do. I will say that even with a generalized outline, be prepared for the story to hit you sideways, for plot points to be out of sync and need reorganizing within the store and for new ideas to crop up. ALWAYS happens to me.

    Good luck - I'm like Liz, can't wait to read!!

  4. Love it! Family secrets are a page turner for me. Can't wait to see more!

  5. Thanks for advice, Kristi!

    And Shawn--I love stories that explain families--and secret pasts are usually involved.

  6. Sounds great! I have no tips b/c I never plot! For me, it ruins the whole dealio!

  7. Thanks D! I'm usually like that but this book is just about writing itself in some places. In others, I'm having to do the work. But that's the fun part.