An Encouraging Word · Book Production Stuff · J.R.R. Tolkien · Kristen Lamb · Looking Ahead · Productivity Tips · The Writing Life

Mapping it, more or less

My plot map for Darcy By Any Other Name, such as it is.
Here’s my plot map for Darcy By Any Other Name, such as it is. So many midstream changes!

In the journey toward my book release, I feel like a cat chasing his tail. Round and round I go. First this, then that. Crank out another chapter, then tighten up the outline with the changes.

Pesky story elements keep popping up like weasels. Events that I foreshadowed in earlier chapters and forgot about. I sigh, go back, and write them in.

And then there’s social media to keep up with. Find a better author photograph (I did!). Come up with a better presence on Twitter and Facebook and Medium. Blog, comment, tweet. (“Lather, rinse, repeat.”) But engagingly, because I’m communicating with people. Not at them.

As writers of the Digital Age we have a much higher chance at success than any writer in history, but we also have more *work* than any writer in history.
~ Kristen Lamb

What do you mean my Facebook page was never published? Apparently I didn’t push some button, so it languished with only four Likes. That explains a lot, but still. There’s so much to do and all at the same time!

This week I am concentrating on my plot map. You know, the ending. Because in my eagerness to finish I’ve lost track of a few things. Like what day it is. Or what the weather is. Or what phase the moon is in. (A few times characters gaze up at it and sigh–and I can’t have the thing be full for a solid week!)

If you’re going to have a complicated story you must work to a map; otherwise you’ll never make a map of it afterwards.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Once everything’s straight, there’s the work of thinking out the ending. Ha, the hardest part. The finish must be clever, unexpected, and emotionally satisfying. I take comfort knowing that I am not alone in my struggle.

Even my favorite writers have struggled to find ideas. When I discovered the quotation below, I gasped. No ideas? T-tolkien? But he wrote so many hundreds of pages!

Yes, Tolkien did come up with more. Eventually. But only because for years he kept working at it. If he had given up (like I feel like doing), how much the world would have missed.

A map drawn by Tolkien
A map drawn by Tolkien
“I find it only too easy to write opening chapters–and at the moment the story is not unfolding. I squandered so much on the original Hobbit (which was not meant to have a sequel) that it is difficult to find anything new in that world.”

~ J.R.R. Tolkien, on writing The Lord of the Rings

2 thoughts on “Mapping it, more or less

  1. You are naturally engaging. I’m not. It’s real work for me, and I often miss the mark. Sometimes I think I have Asberger’s. “Why did they react that way to what I said? Why did I not get the results I wanted to get with that student?” Re-evaluate. Try again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robin, you are MUCH more engaging than I am! Or else you are extremely good at faking it. Ha, maybe we both are.

    I am not good at being vulnerable, which is why I hide behind my fiction. But readers and followers want to know me in a more personal way. So I am trying.

    I have begun reading Kristen Lamb’s The Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, and so far she’s made some excellent points. She walks us through how to interact with others using social media, instead of barking at people to BUY MY BOOK NOW, like we’ve seen all our lives on television.

    I have a whopping lot to learn.

    On the other hand, I need to remember that you and I have never met in person. A gift of social media you are, born of a kindred spirit bond. I have several very good friends like you. When I blog now, I try to picture you all when I write.

    Like

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