29 November 2006

Ain't it the Way

P"Ain’t it the way?"

So ended an email from a best-selling author who had just recounted an exotic plot twist she had come up with now that she was writing the end ~ not brainstorming or plotting out or talking about, but actually writing the end of her second book.

Yesterday I spoke to a college writing class. A student asked what everyone worries ~ "Won't the universal story template lead to formulatic outcomes?"

The act of creation is an amazing thing.

The linear, organized approach of pre-plotting acts as a jumping off place to better and broader ideas, twists, complexities, and depth. Writers with a grasp of the unlying story structure save themselves from stumbling for years in the dark.

So long as writers stay more open to the characters than the Plot Planner, the characters will take the writers where the story needs to go. Writers aware of readers or viewers' expectations for delivery are better able to decipher what the characters are truly revealing.

I'm working here under the basic premise that plot is made up of three intwining threads:
Character Emotional Development
Dramatic Action
Thematic Significance

The opportunities are endless.

Ain't it the way?

05 November 2006

Reading Conference

Yesterday ended three days at the 40th Annual California Reading Association Conference.

I presented as an author and a speaker. With a background in special education as a non-verbal dyslexia child and an adult speech pathologist and learning disability therapist, I brought my passion for plot to share with teachers. One teacher arrived; she was also an aspiring writer. The other attendees were my fellow author presenters, a testiment to comaraderie and all writers' hunger for plot.

Writers are who I serve.

The generosity of the absolutely amazing conference committe allowed me the opportunity to take another step toward integration of my past life in education with my now life as a plot consultant. I arrived as an advocate for readers. I left with a deeper vision.

As readers, we gain comprehension through the words as they appear on the page. As we mature, we come to understand, either consciously or not, that there is a basic, universal rhythm to story, to life. Many writers and readers intuitively tap into this rhythm. For the rest of us, instruction proves helpful.

The majority of my time is devoted to writers. A part of me will always advocate for readers.

I have the great good fortune to try again, this time with librarians at the upcoming California School Library Association Conference.