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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Time Line Time

First, I wanted to make note of the fact that I have updated my blog page, as well as my Google and Wix sites, with additional links for vendors who sell my books. On this page, they are on the left-hand side.

Okay, I've admitted to being a "pantser" when it comes to writing, and I sure don't claim to write from start to finish in a straight line. That doesn't mean I'll put off writing a connecting-type of scene to work on something exciting, but I do frequently go back and rearrange things as I go.

But outlining is not something I do before I start to write. Maybe I should, but I've never been able to do anything even close to writing a real outline. But now, in "Resistance," I have come to the point where I usually wind up about two-thirds of the way through where I have to stop and do a time line. This is just a list of events in chronological order, sometimes annotated with the day or date it happened if that's needed. Starting with what is already written, I might push it forward to cover things I haven't done yet, although usually I don't do that.

Most of my books have at least two plot lines--the people and the puzzle. As my characters try to solve the situation they are in, they also develop as people, learning, growing, and adapting. There's usually a love-story mixed in there, too, because I enjoy that part (the romantic in me). The puzzle part is the "real" plot, a mystery or situation to be solved. These always begin long before my characters become aware of them, and I have to work out the back story at some point: who did what, why, when, and where. This leads to an examination, if surface-level only, of the antagonists' background and motivations. I truly believe even the bad guys need to have a valid reason for their badness, even if the reasoning would not be embraced by anyone else.

I wound up yesterday's writing with a page and a half of notes in "Resistance" about what happens next. I found I wasn't really sure if the murder that opens the book is at the heart of it all or if it is the machinations of the antagonists. I decided that maybe it can be both! I do love a complex plot.

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