I decided to take a week to writer and pray in Kansas City at the International House of Prayer. I have some friends here and thought a change of pace and setting would be inspiring.
Plus. I wanted to be in an atmosphere where people prayed 24×7. Church, we do not pray enough. Seriously. I’ll be first in line to say, “I need to pray more.”
I wanted to accomplish a good bit of writing and have learned some lessons about get-a-way writing retreats. More on that later.
Wednesday, I was stuck. So stuck, I was starting to be worried and bothered. My last two books, I managed NOT to lose any sleep and was believing I’d broken through into a new place of confidence in my writing.
But, when one is not sure how to bring the story together or how to pull the pieces in, then it’s troublesome.
I’ve been thinking about this book off and on for over a year. The core idea I’ve had since before Sweet Caroline. Two, three years. I’d actually considered it for Sweet Caroline, but it was too much for the story so I changed the plot thread.
But now, it WAS the story and I couldn’t hide or back away. How does one write about a cooking show host who can’t cook? What does that look like? Is it funny? How funny? What are the layers and depths to the story? I could see dozens of potentials. There’s the whole spiritual metaphor, the psychology behind food and comfort and families.
Susie May and I worked out enough of the book for my synopsis, but once I started writing. I ran into trouble. I rethought some things, reconsidered, got Susie May’s approval (she requires it over me. ha!) and went back to work. STILL ran into issues.
Mentally, I couldn’t make the leap from the opening to the beginning of the character’s journey. So, Wednesday afternoon, I got on the phone with Susie and the result was the pictures you see. A white board covered with the Plot Roadmap.
What a blessing my friends had one in their office! We had a blast. Susie said, “We’d talked about this story so much, I could just see it.” She talked, I wrote. I challenged a few points with “why?” and we talked it out. After all, I don’t want a wimpy heroine or dumb hero.
I love this kind of process. I love scribbling notes and plotting things out with pen and paper. I love the activity and swirl of ideas on the white board. I GET the story. There’s an odd kind of creative comfort in the circled words, arrows pointing to different ideas, the diagonal scribbles.
I need a white board at my house!
Once I had the first plot point for the beginning of the book, I was off and writing. Even though the story takes on a bit of it’s own life and I will adjust and write scenes with ideas not on the white board, I understand and get the over all journey.
It’s like mapping out a road trip, planning all your major stops and “must sees” but leaving the potty breaks, food stops, sight-seeing spontaneity to the whim of the moment. Some may even enhance the rest of the story.
My hero has always been a bit clear to me. I never struggled with him. My heroine, hard to bead in on her. But, I’m settled now, able to drop in a layer or two deeper. That’s critical to me in the writing process.
There are still many weeks to go before I finish and turn in the book, but I’m on my way.