Books -- reading and writing.
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And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Plotting, one approach

 Yesterday while driving, I heard a great interview with one of my favorite writers, Laura Lippman.
I'm still waiting for AFTER I'M GONE from my library reserve. I may have to break down and buy my own copy. 
As soon as I finish The Goldfinch. (more to come on that book!)

You still might be able to catch the Lippman interview on the Bob Edwards show. 
There's this, from his website:

Monday, February 24, 2014:  Laura Lippman wrote her first seven books while working fulltime as a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. She left journalism in 2001, but kept a deadline driven writing style, publishing a book nearly every year. The latest, After I’m Gone, revolves around a cold case investigation into the disappearance of Felix Brewer.

Although I've long been a fan, I actually met her at my one and only  
Writers in Paradise conference.
As we sat in a big circle, she talked plotting.

She calls her method the "distant shore school of plot." She always knows what's happening across the water, at the end. She knows the one big secret, but we (her readers) don't and even the protagonist doesn't. Although she knows the ending, she's also a fan of what she calls "Landmine Fiction" (don't you love that?). The zingers that go off along the way to that distant shore.

Here's an earlier NPR interview:
(You can actually listen from that link.)

More on her plotting:
If you think about a book as a journey you're going to take across water, and you're standing on one shore, and you can see the other side, and so you set out and you think you know where you're going, you can see it, but the water itself may surprise you. The currents may run more swiftly than you expect, or it may be shallow, you may run aground, and then as you get closer to the other side, it turns out that some of the things you thought you saw and you thought you knew are different.
You thought you saw a horse, and it turns out it was a dog, something like that, and so while you have a sense of where you're going, you are prepared to be surprised and to have the journey be quite different from what you thought it might be when you set out.

That process can be true of drafts 1-3, with discoveries still occurring. I believe very strongly in what I call the organic solution, revelations based on what the story has revealed so far. 

Much of the above is from this interview. 
(But oh how I wish bloggers/ websites/ whatever would not make their background black... )

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