Saturday, August 23, 2008


My favorite part of retreats and conferences is meeting people. This is Carolyn and Robert.

After getting my Starbucks I attended a talk by WILLIAM MARTIN on Tapping the Source of your Creativity.
He talked about "fondling your details" and conflict (there's that word again)
What was fun about his talk is that he uses everything to inspire himself -- setting -- bumperstickers--life threatening injuries.
Oh yeah and when you're stuck -- blow something up.
(That's a bit harder for literary fiction...)
In our homerooms (thats what we call classes with our instructors) we all read our synopses to each other and had to tell every one what our stories were about.
(No not what HAPPENS...What it is ABOUT!)
And who do we care about and why do they do what they do and who are the bad guys and what makes them tick...
My head was DIZZY.
I guess the point is many times we write our book and we don't have our characters change. We don't have a clear idea of who our story is about and what motivates our characters...Gary said something very cool. He said,"Fiction has to make sense...real life doesn't."
Then a talk about those pesky ideas by THOMAS COOK
I think the coolest thing about his talk was that he'll always at least start a first chapter and wrestle with a new idea and knows when to abandon it and move on to something else. He says there are times he'll take a scene from a defunct idea and insert it into another book.
I thought that was interesting.
He also doesn't outline! So there! (Tooloose doesn't outline either)


Mary said...

"Fiction has to make sense...real life doesn't."

Love that. I’m adding it to my file of wonderful quotes.

Dawn Anon said...

"...we all read our synopses to each other and had to tell every one what our stories were about.
(No not what HAPPENS...What it is ABOUT!)"

This is good. I don't completely get it...I think because I've been so stressed about "happens". You know that I've been concerned about the "right" way to plan the plot. But, aha, as soon as I started thinking about what my MC is about, I immediately wrote two scenes.

I can't wait for more retreat tips ala patricia!

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

"Fiction has to make sense...real life doesn't."

I'm thinking about that. I got told my fiction has too many details and it doesn't have to be as 'real' as real life. I think they meant as in Dan Brown Da Vinci, they don't eat or sleep - but you don't really notice.

Maybe I should take a risk and follow Tooloose's non-outline approach...hmm. ponder. thinking about the implications....

thanks for sharing.

ORION said...

yeah dawn..."Joe woke up went to work drove his car got into an accident gets injured goes to the hospital meets a candy striper and a room cleaner and a medical technician..." that's what he does-- that's what happens in the book.
What the story is about?
"When a man is permanently paralyzed he loses the will to live and is transformed by the menial workers in the hospital rather than the doctors and nurses."
This is lame but you get the idea... we sometimes get so hung up on what our characters do and what happens in our novel we lose sight of the big pictuer

ORION said...

Of course that is how the French spell picture -- Tooloose told me...

nancorbett said...

not what HAPPENS...What it is ABOUT

When I read that, I felt a subtle shift in the way I thought about my current project. When someone asks me about it, they invariably ask what it's about, but I tell them what happens. What it's about is far more interesting.

Holly Kennedy said...

I`m so behind on blogging it`s pathetic! Just stopping by to wish you well at the retreat and conference. Have a blast!

Oh, and hello to everyone I know who might be there this year.

Jay said...

Speaking of ideas...I have a novel that is 3/4 finished and couldn't quite figure out the motivation of a key but non-starring character. This character is extremely important to finishing up the novel, and is why the novel sits unfinished under the bed. Anyway, at work we have a new coworker, and I kid you not, she is exactly what I need to finish. Personally, the woman truly scares the crap out of me, and I'm not kidding. ::shudder::