Monday, June 3, 2013

Plotting My Summer

Happy summer vacation to those of you who have already begun!  My college students have finished their semester, but my husband and kids have two weeks to slog through. We are currently in major countdown mode, and my little bookworm has piles of library books all over the house in earnest preparation for lots of reading time. 

I tried to sucker Kate into writing a "guest post" today to give some insight into the mind of an 8-year-old who loves to read (and write), but she was not so inclined. She did tell me, after much consideration, that she reads to "find out what happens next."  While she talks to us primarily about snippets of scenes or dialogue or characters (Allie Finkle's BFF has come up often recently in real-life analogy), it's the plot that gets her to turn the pages.  She added that the chapter titles often entice her to keep reading.  I was somewhat surprised to hear this tidbit, but then I remembered her methodology for writing stories of her own.  She scrawls out chapter titles and then writes content to bear them out in fulfillment of a nebulous plan that she somehow manages to bring to fruition. I suppose this is her personal method of outlining.  [Kate also says that she likes to write stories because "you can write whatever you want instead of having to write what your teacher tells you."]

The topic of outlining reminds me of a graphic I've seen floating around on facebook recently, showing handwritten outlines of famous authors' works:

(I'm sure many of you have seen this, yes?)

I outline in narrative form (akin to a screenplay treatment), so I was intrigued by the depth and complexity of this spreadsheet format.  I was particularly interested in JK Rowling's outline, and google helped me find this analysis:

Wow!  She not only relates each main even to each subplot, but she knows the day on the week that it happened.  As well she should.  As well I should!  It seems I have a lot of work cut out for me and, thank goodness, finally some time to do it.

Wishing a happy, relaxing, and productive summer to all!  I am about to dive into a friend's WIP and give myself a major dose of inspiration.  And, in the spirit of "reading is writing," don't forget to enter our latest giveaway contest to win a copy of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh. I can't wait to read this one, myself. :)  -- Jeanne Marie


Carmela Martino said...

Oh, I'd love to see a guest post from Kate. Maybe when she's a bit older. :-)
I'd never seen those images of famous authors' outlines, JM. Intriguing.
Happy summer to you!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

THANK YOU, Jeanne Marie, for sharing these spread sheets.
I will share them promptly with my writers!
I use a real-time calendar myself when plotting but I always thought it was because I was so darn CONCRETE! :)
I, too, would like your Kate to be our Very First Young Reader Poster.
Esther, who's reading this blog way too late in the week.