Friday, January 29, 2010

Fiction Friday: I'm Renewed!

Last Saturday I went to a writers' workshop in Columbus on plotting. As you may or may not know, plotting is my downfall. Most of my other writing skills have shown steady improvement over the ten years that I've been writing seriously, but creating credible, character-driven plots is still beyond my abilities.

Hosted by the Central Ohio Fiction Writers group, a chapter of Romance Writers of America, the seminar was presented by Laurie Schnebly Campbell. Although it was geared primarily towards romance writers (don't sneer -- they have about a 500% better chance of being published than other genres, because romance sells) there were good points for all fiction writers.

She talked about the impact of birth order on personality (oldest kids are used to being first and make every effort to stay there, second kids will compete, but usually in a different arena, youngest kids--well, we all know what youngest kids are like). And about the four priorities that drive people's lives (excellence, comfort, pleasing and control).

She showed us an Enneagram that reviewed 9 different personality traits (perfectionst, nurturer, achiever, romantic, etc.) and showed how they linked with the others.

And then she explained how you can use all this information to drive your plot.

Told you that to tell you this: I haven't been in Blogworld much this week, because the book is moving forward again. And although I love you all dearly, and can't think how I used to get through life without you, producing a good novel (whether or not it ever gets published), a novel I'm proud of, is my life's dream.

So I'll probably be a little scarce, until I either finish a first draft (yay!) or run dry again.

Last Week's Winners:

I got tons of great recommendations for truly funny comedians. I'll be featuring clips (and saying who contributed them) on Web Wednesdays over the coming weeks.

This Week's Prompt:

Create a character in your mind. Define his/her gender, age, birth order, priority and anything else significant you know about him/her.

Bad news: your character just got fired.

Now tell me how he or she will react, and why, based on the qualities you've given him or her.


  1. I always seem to end up with my main character being an only child - which, needless to say, is what I am. Most of my characters are nothing like me, but growing up with other kids around is something I just don't have a grasp of. (Not that it's even a concept in my series, where all the kids are separated from their parents at birth.)

    Now, stop reading comments and go finish that draft! :p

  2. My character is a French gentleman who lived three or four hundred years ago.
    He is highly intelligent and competent. He gets along well with the other employees, except when they make fun of his rather large nose.
    He is shocked to learn that the company has decided to let him go.
    He marches into his boss's office and waves his sword about as he shouts:
    "What would you have me do? Seek out a powerful protector, cling like a leeching vine to a tree? CRAWL my way up again? No thank you!"
    His boss tries to placate him: "Take it easy, Cyrano. Calm down."

  3. Good luck with your book. I hope you get lots done on it. The workshop sounded really interesting. I'm in absolute admiration for your determination and creativity.

  4. Hey, I'm the youngest...I'm not that bad!!!! Sounds like it was a great seminar, thanks for sharing your information. Maybe, I need to attend some kind of workshop to get my butt in gear. I have good intetntions but....Oh, is that a trait of the youngest?!

  5. Good luck with the writing!

    Blogland will be waiting for you when your ready for a break.

  6. Hi! I finally got around to seeing your blog (I sat at the same table as you during that workshop).

    I also received some good ideas from that workshop and hope to put them to good use. Although, currently my writing is being spent on editing - I want my book to shine by the end of February. Once I'm finished, I can start querying and then get back to my second book.

    Good luck on your novel. I hope you finish it (it really is a great feeling when that happens!).

  7. Happy writing! We will be waiting for you when you surface.

  8. I admire your determination to reach your goal. My money is on you to det it done.

  9. Keep on keeping on..I want to be able to say..Hey I knew her when she was just a struggling writer:)

  10. I'm Dicey Washington. A few years back, I got fired by that sonofabitch that's been tryin' to keep me in his employment all my life.

    Y'all know me, or as least you kids know old black grandma's like me with our age and wisdom and all. Let me tell all you kids somethin'. I was on top one time, I had it all. But when it all came down around me, yeah, and it bit me on my arrogant ass, I layed down in complete, lost despair one drunken night and waited for a train to run me over and smash every bit of pain outta my life in an instant. That's when I remembered the stupidest, most silly thing you could imagine. Child, I heard that song in my head from Momma's church so long ago when they all made us sing, " Yes, Jesus loves me...yes, Jesus loves me."

    I was the youngest girl in a family of eight kids, and every one of them except me, lived a life of sin and misery. I did too, until I was layin' on those train tracks on my birthday, That was Feburary 13th back in 1984 when I was just sixty two years old. You kids wanna celebrate Black History? Y'all need to understand Jesus first. The man who fired me ready for this? It was Satan himself! He stood over me, laughin' mean on those railroad tracks as that train came closer and louder....and I just squeezed hard that rusty old goldish plated cross around my neck that Mommy had given me when I turned 12. I looked him in his black hole eyes and cried as I started singin', "Yes, Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so..."

    Satan FIRED me then and there, with his fire and brimstone cracklin', but I jumped off them tracks and cried out as loud as I could as the train screamed by, "You can't fire me, You can't fire me, you devil, 'cause I quit! I quit you! From this moment forward, I'm workin' for for your MASTER, YOU BASTARD!!! God forgive, but that's just what I said. I ain't never looked back, And God help me, I'll never ever take it back. Praise Jesus!

    So, y'all enjoy Black History Month, but remember, bein' black or white ain't got nothin' to do with it. Nothin' at all.


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