End of the day, I am listening to unbearably beautiful music, selecting my next favorite song, which I still haven’t discovered. It has been a day with revelations. I have been fighting with the concept of plot for such a long time. I know that I can speak about writing until I annoy even the most patient person. It obviously is more than a passion to me. But I can’t plot. Why can’t I plot? Probably because I am as calm as lake water. I can’t imagine bad things happening to good people. I can invent plenty of reasons I can’t write conflict, but it’s very much in demand in the literary world.
However, my dear friend Annie from Malaysia discovered a plot in one of my tables I have prepared during the revision process. I didn’t know that was plot. It contained the events of the story, with some ideas of what could go wrong with the characters. But my characters suffer from things like heavy rain outside the affable café. I thought conflict was something more dramatic such as death, kidnapping, diseases – all these things I am revolted by. But everyone in the business says characters have to pass through seemingly insoluble ordeals. I sometimes imagine a character having to go through my ordeals with writing. That would be great literature.
Now Annie really made my day. Said she:
Dear Lady F,
From what I can see you already have a plot. You have filled in almost all the important happenings and there is external as well as internal conflict. Now, you need to work on scene conflict…
That’s a revelation. It means, readers can eventually expect the finished book For the Love of the Goddess pretty soon. Because plot is for a book what grammar is to language. Once you master grammar, you can begin to express yourself beautifully, but before you learn it speaking even only okay is a struggle. One has got to develop intuition for plotting. Add some talent to that and nothing can’t stop you from ranking on the bestselling list.
Teaser: I have placed as a desktop wallpaper a really beautiful painting of The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, one of the places where my story will take place. It is a pastel by Kamil Kubic – google the name and you will see some art works of emblematic cities, which are even for sale.
Today I rediscovered one of my old pages in Facebook: Lady F. I have to say it is inspiring. I have to say all my projects are inspiring, but I rarely get the chance to finish any. Which is actually demotivating and creates informational overload. Now I can speak about this a lot, because it really bothers me. Informational overload is what happens when you have gathered resources for later processing. That means you come upon something online, but you feel you don’t have time to deal with it now, which is why you postpone it for better times and store it somewhere on your external hard drive. Guess what – even if it’s the most useful of files, you will hardly ever see it again. That people call “informational overload.” Imagine you are a squirrel and you have gathered nuts for the winter, but then you have forgotten the tree hollows you have stored them in. But I have found a brilliant way to fight with informational overload and I will maybe share it with one of my next books.
Today I watched a TED talk on good writing by Andrew Stanton – The Clues to a Great Story. About the end of the presentation he shares about a movie he watched seven times in one month – Lawrence of Arabia. He couldn’t get enough of it. He felt there was “a grand design” under it – in every shot, every scene and every line. I downloaded the movie and saw that the rapture is mutual. It starts with the untimely death of the main character. Then we are taken to the funeral – a majestic building and a lot of good-looking people dressed in black suits and top-hats go out of the building. A journalist is asking people questions. Weird thing is nobody knows this person, but everyone has conflicting presumptions about him. The conflict grabs your imagination in a firm grip in the very beginning, and every line is promising.
Andrew Stanton shared that the most important thing about a story is if it can invoke wonder. He believes everything in a good story invokes wonder – style, story, the characters.
So it has been a day of revelations. I finally realized what I want to say to the reader with my work. And by placing my characters in the most beautiful states that exist, I am going to invoke wonder.
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