Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pushing Forward - the joy of diagramming plot points

Sometimes it's hard to write. For those of you that think it's a simple matter of putting words on paper - NOPE. The hard part is what words to put down, and sometimes it's coming up with the words.

One of the things I struggle with is called "the black moment." Otherwise known as "that really bad thing" that happens to your hero/heroine or to their relationship in the story. You have to deliberately put your characters in harm's way. Characters you have gotten to be friends with. Characters you connect with and love. Deliberately.

While I've been working on the release of Living Canvas, I've managed to put off (procrastinate) new chapters in the work in progress (heretofore referred to as "Quiet" until such time as I think up a more appropriate title). But I now have hard copies of Living Canvas in hand, so I'm out of excuses, at least until the reviews are in. Out of excuses. So last weekend I sat down at my computer and stared at the screen.

And stared some more.

It's hard to put your friends in harm's way, even if they are figments of your imagination. But that's part of writing. So rather than develop chapters, I started with plot points.

Character A needs to do this.
Character B needs to do that.
The danger is this.
The conflict is that.
The outcome is such and such.
What am I missing in order to accomplish these threads?

You know what? It works. Immediately upon organizing my thoughts and where I needed to go, I was able to push forward. The chapters took shape, the plot moved forward. The first draft of Quiet is now at least 90 percent completed. First draft? you ask. That means the story is down. I need to apply some spackle - fill in the holes. Flesh out the characters and the settings a little more.

Whether we use story boards or outlines, at some point in time, every author (especially us "pantsers") has to know the outcome. So while it's fun to let the characters carry us along and work their way out of the corners we write them into, sometimes it's good to see where we're going.

As a reminder - the giveaway for a free copy of Living Canvas is live at Goodreads.com until the end of the week. Throw your name into the hat to win an autographed copy! (or click on a link to the right to buy one).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Living Canvas by Karla Brandenburg

Living Canvas

by Karla Brandenburg

Giveaway ends July 21, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. I loved this book. I like your style of writing and will now look forward to your next book. In fact, I think I'll go to Barnes and Noble to see what other book you have written that I can buy.

  2. Thanks, Mary! You should be able to find my books online, or you can ask Barnes and Noble to order a hard copy for you.