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For the first time in a (seemingly) LONG time, I finished a book of fiction today.  YAY!  Granted, it was one that I've read before, but I've been wanting to continue on with the series that eventually evolved since I first read it, but didn't remember enough about the story line to continue on.  It has been most effective in assisting to fill the well.

Kristin Lamb - I believe it was - talked about the importance of reading... not just writing.  It was one of those concepts that I remember thinking, "yes, I know", but was not one that I really knew.  She mentioned how she reads one book of fiction, as well as one trade related text each week.  I'm honestly thinking of shooting for that as well.  At least where fiction is concerned...

This book (The Outlander) was one that the Plot Whisperer had used in her video series as an example at one point.  It was that mentioning that spurred me to read it again.  I'm glad I did.  Not just because it was one that I enjoyed (the first time, as well as recently) but it helped to illustrate the principles that I've been learning with regard to craft.  One of the greatest things was why it is suggested slowing things down - drawing things out - during the climax sequence.  It causes a reader to hurriedly flip through the pages to find out what happens next.

Beyond that, I've considered 1) tightening up the plot lines and sub-plot lines a bit and 2) actually playing with my characters a bit.  For starters, the main protagonists from this first novel, as well as the antagonists.  Experience reminds me this is a very good way to get to 1) get to know the characters a bit better and in a more 'relaxed' environment and 2) get a better handle on their individual voices.  It seems counter productive (at least to the IC), but in the end... it helps, I believe.

In addition to this... I'm continuing to consider my goals for this upcoming year - personally, spiritually, and "professionally".  A good deal to consider, but it's coming along.  I'm planning to have my "professional" ones - at the very least - ready in time for the beginning of [community profile] inkingitout  on Sunday and ROW80 on Monday.

Progress being made.  In baby steps, but forward motion, none-the-less.
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Exercise for Day #1 

Found at: http://plotwhisperer.blogspot.com/2011/12/4th-annual-plot-writing-month.html

"Fill out the following for your protagonist. If you have written a story with multiple viewpoint characters or strong secondary characters fill out the following for those characters as well. If the major antagonist(s) in your story is a person, fill out the following for that character, too. (If you filled out this profile(s) at an earlier point in your writing, do it again now without referring to the earlier form(s))"
CHARACTER EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROFILE

Character’s name:

Dramatic Action Plot

Overall story goal:
What stands in her way:
What does she stand to lose:

Character Emotional Development Plot

Flaw:
Strength:
Hates:
Loves:
Fears:
Dream:
Secret:
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Ooooh! Just came across something (via[community profile] nano_writers) I think I'm going to participate in this month. Thought I'd share!

It's the 4th Annual International Plot Writing Month.

This is a chance to revision and redefine the plot arch of your project before actually rewriting the manuscript. (This also works for writers without a first draft. Whether you merely have an idea for a story, a few chapters or scenes, just tweak the assignments to make them work for wherever you are in the process.)

Writers follow the blog from all over the world everyday every December for plot tips and tricks and inspiration beginning Dec. 1st to shape their words into a compelling story.

No writing is required. Instead, you'll step back and consider the overall structure and plot of your story, push aside the words and analyze the characters and dramatic action and thematic significance you have written to craft the project into a coherent piece worthy of publication. . Brainstorm for an effortless draft two in the new year.

It's only day 2, so I'm planning to head over today - or this weekend, at the latest!

Edit:  Also came across some gems on craft from Janis Hubschman via this post from Jane Friedman.

"When the story stalls, ask: what is the character thinking now? Is she thinking anything? If not, why not? Characters need to learn something about themselves, about their values and assumptions.

To gain insight into a character, consider her history: Think about what happened before the story, what tortuous path led the character to this particular moment?

Allow the character to misinterpret another character’s words or actions. In life, we often misread a situation, jump to conclusions. Interesting things can happen when characters make presumptions or project their own hang-ups onto others."


The original post from Janis Hubschman, which was part of Glimmer Train can be found here.

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