A new journey

What do “relationship reckless moving job changes” and “i wanna go somewhere away from reality” have in common?

A) They both have words that start with R in them.
B) They both represent thoughts/feelings that I’ve had recently.
C) They are both search terms used to find my website.
D) All of the above.

(I’m going to give y’all the benefit of the doubt and assume you guessed right.)

Lately I’ve been feeling my old wanderlust again — and the Eat Love Pray commercials aren’t helping. (By the way, I am loving Florence + The Machine, who sing the theme in the trailer.) Since I can’t actually get away right now, I find myself turning to the place I’ve always turned since I was 9 years old: fiction.

With the Twenty-Somewhere proposal and sample pages “in the chute,” I have time. Time to what? Good question. Anything! Read, watch Friends, snuggle with my dog… And that’s pretty much what I thought I’d do this week — take a break. But no, my fingers flew to a pen and whipped open my journal, and I spent all last night plotting. Yes, the evil P word: PLOTTING.

I’m still no expert, but after writing out several thorough synopses for the girls of 20SW, the process didn’t seem so daunting. In fact, it was — dare I say it? — fun. Who woulda thunk it?

I decided to write my YA contemporary/dystopian idea next, which is full of political and cultural subtext, lush exotic settings, and Girl Power. First I roughed out a storyline using the Six Stage Plot Structure, and then I jotted notes on key characters and their motivations. Of course, fleshing out the characters affected their roles in the story, so then I had to go back and revise the plot a bit. It’s definitely a give-and-take process, but I like that back and forth, that sense of discovery, of malleability.

I also like having this framework before starting the draft. It’s not rigid, but it’s a road map. I already expect a few detours, but the outline still gives me a sense of security, you know?

So for the next day or two, I will make sure my ideas seem logical and compelling, and then I may just dive in. I seem calm, but I’m actually squee-ing inside. (New project new project new project!) This is one of the things I love best about the writing — or reading — life: Anytime a journey ends, you can just pick up and start a new one.

Like this:



Fun in the sun


Typical Friday


  1. Good luck and have fun!

  2. Les

    I’m right there with you this time ;) Good luck to both of us!

  3. Isn’t the beginning of a new project one of the most invigorating, inspiring times? I know it differs for every writer, but there just seems to be something uniquely special about starting out on a new journey with infinite possibilities stretching before you. Brainstorming, plotting, outlining, working on character sketches … so much fun!!

    I’m the same way as you in terms of planning. I like to have a framework in terms of where I generally want my characters to begin/end up, what the main themes are, things like that … but broad enough that I can let the characters lead the way when I start writing. I’ve been working on all of that for my new novel idea, and I’m just about ready to jump in. Can’t wait!

    Good luck with your new project!!

  4. Thinking about a new book is definitely like falling in love. I haven’t written anything down yet about the story I’ve been falling in love with, but even still it’s gone through several changes. But it’s all so good right now, so fun, before it’s really begun.

    I’ve always potted in my head rather than write things down. I am tempted to try out the Six Stage Plot Structure you linked to, but I’m not quite there yet. That seems like something you do when you want to start the real writing, and I can’t do that right now. But hopefully this winter!

  5. Eeeee!!! Nothing like that new project buzz. Good luck!

  6. I love the promise of a new story! There’s so much potential at your fingertips. Sometimes I find it’s hard to start, but once I do it’s so much fun :D

  7. Good luck! And Florence and the Machine is one of my favorite bands. Every song they have is great!

  8. squeee!!! new projects are awesome. Enjoy. :-)

  9. So you’ve given into outlines, have you? Good for you, they work!

  10. Gah. My experience with plotting this story isn’t nearly the FUN experience yours is. I think that’s entirely because of my expectations. I’m going into it assuming I’ll do it quickly and easily (for some reason?) and not simply accepting that it can still be tough even while it’s fun.

    Back to it!

  11. Trisha

    Wow. Sounds good.

  12. You do not waste time! [BTW, hello, I stalked you from Tessa’s blog] My after project routine is several days of extensive not-doing-anything-at-all. It’s the joy of being a Sloth, plus doing what I do best [procrastination] without the guilt nagging at me that I have something to complete. It’s the best.

    Congrats on going at it again. Do tell, is that six-step outline relevant for novels?

  13. Thanks, everyone!

    Are you starting a new project??

    Hello. :) I think the 6-stage structure is relevant to any story, really. When I first found it, I thought about my favorite stories and realized they all naturally fell into its mold. I think there’s something just inherently *workable* about it.

  14. ha! isn’t funny how it’s almost impossible to take some time off from this writing thing? new projects/ideas always come knocking the moment I relax and think I’m going to take a writing break. glad you’re having fun, though! :D

  15. If that is the case, then I’ll surely take this into consideration, once I start the editing process on the novels, because you know how the vomit drafts usually get completely overhauled.

  16. Isn’t it wondrous how you can “go” anywhere using only paper and pen? Happy trails… ;)

  17. Joelle

    “Anytime a journey ends, you can just pick up and start a new one.” So very true.

  18. I am starting to brainstorm and plot for my next novel and it is a lot of fun. I know so much more now and feel like I actually know how to plot now!

  19. I am so excited about your new project. Beyond what is reasonable for a writing friend, I think!
    Wanderlust…hell yeah. I gotta get out of this place! Florence is brilliant (I know only I remember this, but way back when you wrote about Dog Days, I think when Riley went to work with you, I suggested Florence’s song. Just the phrase starts her song up in my head. amazing.)

  20. I’ve been keeping up to date with your site, but just don’t always have time to comment (sorry). Just thought I’d say hello again so you know I’m here!

  21. Larramie-
    Oh SO wondrous!

    Awesome possum! Are you not going to revise your first novel, then? Or are you just letting it sit (like I did with mine)?

    LOL. Well that’s a good thing. Particularly since you are probably going to be reading a lot of it… Btw, I’m reading your revised Chapter 7, and it’s so good! You clean up nice, girl. ;)

    Yay, and thanks! It’s always good to see you. :)

  22. “This is one of the things I love best about the writing — or reading — life: Anytime a journey ends, you can just pick up and start a new one.”

    I don’t write publicly like you do, but AMEN! I feel bad for people who don’t have a creative escape. Imagine being stuck in reality all the time! ;)

    Good luck and have a ton of fun!

  23. Love that last sentiment, so very true. Best of luck! (Sidenote: the ‘P’ word is indeed evil!)

  24. Thanks for that link! I’m starting to work on a new project, actually an old project that got pushed to the side, and I’ve wanted to try being more organized from the beginning. Maybe that structure will help…?

  25. Oh man, I love Florence and the Machine too! Your process sounds rewarding yet frustrating, but I guess that’s to be expected. Haha! You seem to approach writing very intellectually and introspectively.

  26. Ashley-
    Haha, thanks. I suppose I do…

  27. Ace

    Love the link. Bookmarking it for future reference.

    I also like having a framework for my stories with just enough wiggle room in case the characters do something “unexpected.”

    Good luck with the new story.

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