Thursday, February 25, 2010

Break Into Fiction ... While In Writing Mode

I'm Missy Tippens. And I'm in writing mode. (Does that sound like an intro at some sort of recovery group??) :)

I've posted a photo from a writing retreat I went on this time last year. That's me in the foreground, enjoying the salt breeze while working on the balcony overlooking the Atlantic.
And I would show you a photo of me while I'm in writing mode now, only I'd be too embarrassed. (Picture sweatpants, raggedy sweatshirt, bed-head hair, fuzzy socks, coffee in hand, no makeup...scary, huh?)

Last week, I worked like crazy doing a Book In A Week challenge. And this week, I've been trying to keep up that pace. I'm working really hard during the day, trying to stay offline (have ignored Facebook for 2 weeks!). I'm also pushing through, taking advantage of the day writing time to save time to watch the Olympics with my family at night.

So far, I'm 30,000 words into a 60,000 word book that's due May 1. So I'm feeling pretty good timewise. But yesterday I decided to print what I'd written so far. I'm trying to incorporate some suggestions my editor gave me while reading the synopsis and first three chapters. And I'm feeling good about the changes I'm making.

But I'm still working to make sure my plot is moving along well and that there's a drive in the story to answer the story question.

Today, I spent a couple of hours working through some exercises from Break Into Fiction by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love. They have some great worksheets that I've found really helpful. One thing their book reminded me to do was to differentiate between the character's immediate external goal (find the murderer, pay the rent, save the job) and the author's external story goal for the character (what I intend for the character to reach or accomplish in the end). The first is more about goals and action. The second is more about character growth.

So today, I've been checking to make sure I have 3 external obstacles to my characters reaching their external story goal (these obstacles are the turning points).

I highly recommend Break Into Fiction! Especially if you're starting a new story. But even if you've been plowing away, writing like crazy. I think it's good to stop, like I did at the halfway point, and to reevaluate and make sure everything is going in the right direction.

Do you print your story regularly to read it over? Or do you prefer to work straight through?


  1. I do print my story. Usually every chapter because I see different things that need change or work on paper than I do on the computer screen. If I only revised on the computer, I'd be to afraid I'd miss a really big mistake.

  2. I do better on paper, too, Dianna. It's easier to work and flip from page to page.

    Hope you have a great day!

  3. Hi Missy:

    The book looks good and the price is right. One good idea would be well worth the cost.

    BTW: are the Seekers going on that “Write At Sea” cruise? I think I could talk my wife into going. : )


  4. Hey, Vince! Wouldn't that be so fun to do that cruise?!! Maybe we can all save our pennies, plan way ahead, and all go some year. :)

  5. Thanks for the info, Missy - boy, oh boy, does the idea of salt-sea air sound good right now! (as the snow falls for the 60th time outside) Oh dear, when the scientists shouted Global Warning...God laughed and sent a worldwide blizzard. Gotta love his humor :-)
    Break Into Fiction is a great book. I've only gotten through the first four chapters, but it's well laid out for quick learning. I'm looking forward to reading more of it.

  6. Pepper, we didn't get more snow, but it's been terribly cold today! And it smelled like snow. I thought for sure we'd get some this morning. Then again, maybe it was just the smell of cold air and fireplace smoke. ;)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. In my writing wardrobe of pajamas, no makeup, no contact lenses and bed-hair - I'm ready for that cruise!

    LOL, Pepper on God laughing about Global Warming. He's definiely had a good laugh this winter.

    Missy, send some of your "writing mode" my way!!

  8. Okay, I've never been on a writing retreat at the beach!!! Hint! Hint! Hint!

    Great post, Missy!