Sunday, May 28, 2006

Oh so that's what's wrong...

My RWA chapter had a workshop with Alicia Rasley yesterday. And it was GREAT!

She spoke about plotting. And at first I felt squeamish because well... I'm a pantser and I don't do a lot of preliminary plotting.

But by the end of the day, I had eleven pages of notes with tons of starred items referring to my wip. And I felt like I had been slapped by a category five hurricane (we're a coastal town).

Alicia talked about "acts" and three vs. four act plots and scenes and the basic components of scenes which are the basic components of acts which are the basic components of books.

At first, in my wee little brain I thought, "I don't do acts and all that. I just write." And what I learned is that I was WRONG. I write in three acts. At least up until now I have been and I never realized it. And I even use the blooming scene structures she gave, but didn't realize it. And the few scenes that are still bothering me in my wip, well they don't have any of the important components of a scene and that's why they're bothering me!

By the end of the six hour workshop (that included our lunch time), I was sitting, staring at Ms. Rasley with a gaping mouth, thinking... "Why couldn't you have come into my life sooner?"

Maybe I'm the only person for whom some of this is new. I'd heard some of the terms before, but I hadn't ever had it all drawn out for me. I promise to share some of what I learned, right after I get my head straightened out enough to be able to put it all into focus for myself and apply it to my wip.

Boy am I glad I didn't cop out going. I came soooooo close. Hubby was away Friday night and Buckley thought that meant he had to be a real guard dog. So every time he heard a noise in the night, he attacked! I got a total of three hours sleep, so when the alarm clock went off at 5:45, I considered going back to sleep. Gosh I'm glad I didn't!

So am I the only one for whom some of this is new?



Stacy Dawn said...

I've heard of it but never got a great explanation. I'll be interested to learn more.

Karen Erickson said...

I'm by nature a pantster, but I am using more plotting techniques, etc. cos it does make it easier.

But I don't want to plot TOO MUCH cos it seems to take away the fun of the story! LOL

Sounds like you learned a lot at your workshop. I wish wish wish I had a chapter close to me...

JENNA said...

I still haven;t read anything about writing in acts. I need to. I bet I get hit by the same storm!

Sue aka MsCreativity said...

I'm discovering I'm a pantser too. Whenever I try to write to a plot my characters rebel.

I can't wait to read more about this workshop - it sounds fascinating and enlightening. It's great that the effort you made in going proved to be worthwhile.

(PS. what is it about dogs that they do this whenever we are alone?!!)

Emma Sinclair said...

I can't think too much about writing craft when I'm actually in the midst of something or I freeze.

I try to keep most of my craft stuff for when I'm between WIPs.

And I think you touched on one of the coolest things about writing to me. The fact that we do so much of it without consciously thinking (like your wip was already in 3 acts, even though you didn't consciously plan it).

Michelle said...

I tend to internalize my plotting. I'm trying a new method, but I've heard of the three-act structure. It's very useful!

April said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only person who wasn't familiar with it. I promise to share more. As soon as I can get it sorted out in my head ;-)