Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Fricassee

It's amazing how, every time I take the plunge and post something really transparent, I receive an outpouring of support and camaraderie of mammoth proportions.  What an immeasurable gift!  It reinforces the truth that we are in this together.  And it reminds me that it's okay to fall backward with my eyes closed and let others catch me.

You never let me hit the ground.

And so, armed with nearly 70 comments, in addition to tweets and personal emails, I am ready to tackle this recalcitrant plot.  Well, "tackle" is probably the wrong word.  These words, spoken wisely in the comment box, have hit home:

My best advice is to hold your story as 'lightly' as you can in your mind. With so much pressure on yourself (I hear you there!) to find the perfect plot, you could be squeezing your creative self a little too tightly.

That's me in a proverbial nutshell -- holding too tightly, thinking too hard, forcing myself to COME UP WITH SOMETHING OR DIE TRYING.  And this approach has backfired over the past several weeks.

It's amazing how your collective advice alone has helped me to relax.  Knowing I'm not alone, and receiving so much wonderful advice, has taken away the nasty free-fall feeling.  I'm resting in my ability to plot this story.  And it feels wonderful!

Two more comments I've taken to heart:

Just put two of your characters together and Wing it.

Why don't you try writing a couple scenes you know are going to be in the book and then come back to the plot?

Now, I'd already done the write-a-scene thing, but it didn't help much, because I was handicapped by what I hadn't figured out.  Yesterday, I sat down and wrote a scene of dialogue between my protagonist and the not-so-perfect boy who turns her life upside-down.  It was a Reveal Scene (love those), and it dealt with the THING.  As in, the THING I still haven't defined.

Undaunted, I gave the THING a ridiculous name, and kept writing the scene.  I've never been one to use place-markers, though I know it's common.  It's that dang anal-retentiveness!  It's "I absolutely cannot move forward if I DON'T HAVE ALL THE RIGHT WORDS!"

I got over that (for the first time, really), and wrote the scene with a place-marker.  And I could already feel my mind freeing up.

A snippet:

“So.”  She folded her arms, pretending to be casual.  “The mutiny was my people’s fault, and your mother brought the SACRED DOODLEFART with her, and it’s hidden somewhere on the moon.  Have I missed anything?”

Haven’s face didn’t even twitch.  “That’s about it.”

“And you know this because…?”

“I’ve told you.  My dad was captain of the Frontier.”

“Which makes him an expert on the SACRED DOODLEFART?”

It's silly as can be, but it's got my brain moving forward.  And that's the whole point.

This whole journey is so bizarre, isn't it?

Anyway, thank you.  A million times, in a million languages--thank you.

I'm looking forward to an angst-free weekend (yes, I'm claiming that right now), which wouldn't be a possibility without your help.  May your writing brains be happy this weekend, too!  Goodness knows you deserve it.


  1. I call 'dibs' on 'SACRED DOODLEFART' for a picture book!!

  2. Sacred Doodlefart? LOVE it!

    Seriously, why not keep that instead of it just being a placeholder?

    With those two simple words, I think you've found the next big YA trilogy ;-) :-D

  3. I had the worst case of sacred doodlefarts last night but a little Pepto did the trick ;).

  4. Awesome that you've found a way to write around your plotting problem. Now you'll probably find the perfect solution slides painlessly into your mind.

  5. I think "DoodleFart" is already trademarked as an iPad App.
    Just kidding.
    Thanks for sharing your sacred D.F. with us. It's given me immeasurable confidence in tackling my own.
    ~Just Jill

  6. I think you could have her really call it a Doodle Fart since she can't pronounce the scientific name for that-which-we-keep-nameless-for-now.

    I hope you smash your barrier to smithereens. But until then, may the Doodle Farts be with you.

  7. Awesome! Love the Sacred DoodleFart. LOL I can't stop laughing. And I needed a good laugh today.

    I'm very much like you in the sense that I can't use place markers. I HAVE to know what's going to happen next before I can move on. Everything must be figured out and named and the rules developed for it etc.

    But reading this has given me hope. I'm absolutely going to try throwing some sacred doodlefartish things into my manuscript as place markers so I can move on and get the darn thing written!!!

    You're awesome! Best of luck in your writing--and enjoy your angst-free weekend!!

  8. "Sacred Doodlefart" nearly made me spit coffee all over my screen!

  9. Oh. My. Word.

    I shrieked with laughter when I saw this:

    “So.” She folded her arms, pretending to be casual. “The mutiny was my people’s fault, and your mother brought the SACRED DOODLEFART with her, and it’s hidden somewhere on the moon. Have I missed anything?”

    This is the best, authoress! And I'm so, so glad the comments have helped you get moving, relaxing, growing more comfortable. Yayys all around.

    My the sacred doodlefart live on forever.

    Girl, you're freakin' awesome. Ride the stink wave, my dear. Keep on ridin' it. It'll take you home.

  11. SACRED DOODLEFART--love it. I'm glad you got your mojo back!

  12. You had me at Doodlefart!

    There were some awesome ideas in your comment boxes yesterday.

    I'd add that the one thing that helps me get "unstuck" is a really long walk/jog. There's a great nature trail near me and when I walk and think about my story, I'll type or talk into my phone when I get an idea.

    Because my faith is important, I'll often pray for an inspiration while walking. Most of the time I get an inspired idea and sometimes I think God says, "Let's just work on your thunder thighs, today." Either way, it's productive.

    I'd also like to add that I had a moment of minor discourgement the other day and my wonderful CPs helped me through it. I met them through MSFV's dating service. :)

  13. I'm SO glad I read these two posts! I'm in the same place with my SF/Fantasy...stuck. I'm going to have to go all nonlinear on it which goes against my grain.

    Perhaps connecting-the-dots will work better than drawing lines, right?

  14. I think I shall embrace "Sacred Doodlefart" with a smile.

    If that doesn't get the blood flowing through the creative noggin, nothing will :-)

    Glad that the community was able to do what it does best...Be a community for a fellow writer :-)

  15. wandered over from Miss Snark's old web sites.

    Here is my 2 dinero.

    When someone says "I can't outline". I always come away with the idea what they are really saying is "I have not chosen one to reveal my story". According to Georges Polti... where are only 36 dramatic situations. So... you really haven't chosen your method of revelation. Handy Cliff note is here:

    If Doodle is a freeing technology - Deliverance is your Plot.

    If Doodle is a vengeful weapon which has no defense - Vengeance is your plot.

    If Doodle and all it's weirdness IS the point - Then Daring Enterprise is your plot.

    IF Doodle is to be used to level the playing field against a superior foe - Then Rivalry Between Superior and Inferior is your plot

    If Doodle brings our heroin in conflict with advanced God-like aliens - Then Conflict with a God is your plot.

    Just one idea given your troubles and the possibility of using your block to drive story. In other words make the plot block mystery a part OF THE STORY.

    An M-Doodle is a 4 dimensional artifact created the ancient Mazurian race. The Mazurians, for unknown reasons, left our Quadrant of the Galaxy one million years ago. M-Doodle artifacts cast 3 dimensional "shadows" into our Space Time causing each observer to perceive the M-Doodle differently. Given that the M-Doodle is a 4th dimensional object only the shadows can be manipulated in our space time. Each M-Doodle has a specific set of shadows that are related and bringing a certain number of these shadows into close proximity (10 feet) allows for some of the M-Doodle powers to be activated. M-Doodle activations are rare and have had interesting side effects to Space Time integrity. Many reports of M-Doodle shadow conjunctions stated events consistent with a "Santa Claus Machine" ( Other reports indicate violent natural disasters are the norm. The Red Riot M-Doodle Shadows are the most famous of these shadow sets. Full Ten of the Red Riot M-Doodle Shadows are held on the planet Calypso and after the last proximity conjunction caused the Calypso axis to tilt 10 degrees all further attempts to control Red Riot were suspended. Anyone finding an object that resembles M-Doodle shadows is directed to immediately report the finding to authorities. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES is any sentient being allowed to seek out additional M-Doodle shadows of similar signature as per Galactic Law ZZZ-10334-Alpha,

  16. Yay!!! Glad your brain freeze is thawing! I'm also trying to "hold my story lightly" as I figure this thing out.

  17. Love it!!! I think you should copyright the name before it gets loose in the wilds :)