Thursday, September 8, 2011

Plotting at Killer Nashville

I’ve had to put aside blogging and some of the books I’m reading to meet deadlines. My attention is so easily yanked from one interesting subject to another. Robert Dugoni’s The Jury Master came yesterday. I thumbed to the first page and moments later realized I’d read three chapters and lost all sense of time.  He’s got an excellent writing style. Excellent storyteller. Last night I stayed up until midnight again—went to YouTube and looked for every interview I could find with Dugoni. Watched them all. He’s such a likable guy and he always shares something valuable.

I’m a terrible note-taker. When interviewing I always take tape recorders with me. Yes, tape recorderS. Just in case. My notes during the Killer Nashville conference are sporadic and abbreviated, to say the least. Out of all the good stuff P.J. Parrish said on the plotting panel, I have one thing beneath her name: “Plotting is nothing without good pacing.” I got caught up in all she was saying, but too, I guess that’s what resonated with me the most. I see myself as a weak plotter and if I'm not careful my story will move at a snail's pace.

I have much written beneath  Debbie Henson’s name: She said she identifies three climaxes in her story. I take that to mean three major plot points, then she builds her book around those three.  The first climax occurs during the first third of the book, the second climax is in the middle and it changes the game, offers the big twist that moves the book forward. Then there’s the climax that offers a race to the end—the finish. She uses a bulletin board, writes her three climaxes on index cards and builds her story with scenes.
We each have to do what works for us and I think the reason Debbie’s method appeals to me is I did pretty much the same thing when I wrote my first book. I took 12 sheets of paper, each symbolizing a chapter of the book. I outlined on each sheet/chapter—loosely. I started writing. As I wrote, I filled in my pages. It worked. That book got published—and I’ve never, ever used that method again or sold a book. For some reason, I’ve became a seat of the pants writer. What’s wrong with this picture?

I’ll have more posts on Killer Nashville but on another note:

I’m writing a short piece on Walker Percy for Southern Writers Magazine. I can’t begin to tell you how enamored I am with this man. I can’t possibly use all the interesting info I’ve collected about him and hope to do a blog post too, but for sure I want to tell you now that a Walker Percy symposium will be happening October 14-16. The conference will take place on Loyola University campus in New Orleans. That;s located in the Uptown area of N.O. across from Audubon Park. This is going to be very interesting. Wish I could go--Check it out HERE.
Did anyone watch the Walker Percy documentary? It's for sale HERE.


Charles Gramlich said...

We hear a fair amount about Percy around here. Definitely an interesting character.

Carole said...

The most I know about New Orleans is that Drew Brees got me 34 points last night for my fantasy league. That was nice of him...but I digress. Don't know Percy. Will have to check him out.