Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Applying The Tricks Of The Trade

Morning All,

All right, it's good that I look over things before posting them on here, because the title of this post was almost "Applying The Tricks Of The TADE" rather than "Trade". Yet, another reason for authors to proofread their work.

Okay, so I don't have to cover proofreading (that's pretty straight forward anyway, right?)

I don't know how you all feel about outlines. I personally don't usually do them. Every now and again I'll write up a synopsis when an ideas are just bursting out all over the place for me. But sometimes I start with a vague idea then it blossoms.

Todd Stone's workshop helped me organize those vague ideas:

If you go to slide number 14 on this link, you'll find a diagram that helped me organize those "vague ideas".

This one helped a lot. I had an idea for Delaney Ryan's best friend, Caruso as a companion novel to Conjure A Man, but I only had a vague idea of conflict and possible opponents. With this diagram I was able to start the ideas flowing. (In fact, yesterday, 2 pages of tentatively titled, Heartbeats came out--stronger than my original attempt).

Another concept that helped me (also from Todd Stone's Workshop) was what Todd calls "Book On An Index Card" (or, BIC). You can find out about this by clicking here and arrowing down until you get to where it talks about the BIC. Click here.

This BIC idea is used as the synopsis for Todd Stone's book, Close To Home.

Now granted, sometimes synopsis don't start with "When" but rather WHO. Things like:

"Such-and-such character has had it with______________. Therefore, she/he decides to___________. Problem is that________________________."

But it can help you organize the events in your story.

The other thing I do is let some ideas "marinate" for awhile--usually 1-2 days before I get started writing. This lets things "take shape" and develop so that I can sit down and write.

What are some of the tricks you use? What have you found most helpful?

Have A Thrilling Tuesday!

P.S. I've added The Novelists Bootcamp Blog to the list in the righthand margin under "Other Blogs To Read"


Marsha Sigman said...

Thanks Bethany! I actually used a rough outline for my current wip because the story line is a little complicated. I had so many ideas that I was afraid I would forget! I did not stick completely to it but it really helped me focus.

bethanyintexas said...


Yeah. Todd Stone talked about authors who "write by the seat of their pants." He said there's nothing wrong with writing that way, but that this would help organize thoughts and ideas.

Marsha Sigman said...

I used to say that I write by the seat of my pants but I am willing to try new ideas to see if they work better for me. I still like the idea of letting it flow but the longer your novel is and the more complicated the story line...the outline just helps. I am trying to find a couple of free hours to sit and go back through your links on this. There is not enough time in the day!

bethanyintexas said...


LOL...it took us 2 days to cover the material we covered and that was with finishing at 3:30 P.M., a few 10 minute breaks and 1 1/2 hour lunch (both Friday and Saturday), but we started at 8:30 a.m. both days. It's a lot, and we even skipped a couple of things (not much, believe me). But it was totally worth it.