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  • Patricia Hollett

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    Currently working on:

    Fallon -70,094 words
    Forest Born -67408 words
    Ice Whisperings -2997 words
    Garrett -9623words
    Northern Blood -11658 words
    Winter's Reign -787 words

    Completed

    Blood Harvest - 998 words
    Keeping Secrets - 1500 words
    Misunderstood -700 words
    Sarah's Amulet-A Necromancer Slave Story -6004 words
    The Cult -1998 words
    Unfortunate Blessings -454 words

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    Artistic Escape - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Happy Birthday Honey - flash (to be pub 2011)
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    Allie's Clown - 1500 words (Published on Dark Valentine website March 2011)
    Valeria's Knight - 4807 words (Published in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine)
    The Angel Wars/Post-Apocalyptic Emails at the end of time-A collaboration with author Tammy Crosby (Published by PillHill Press in August 2011)
    Valeria's Knight - 4807 words (Published in Night to Dawn Magazine-September 2011)

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Direction, plot, characters and planning.


I took Kelley Armstrong’s ‘Dark Fantasy’ writing course last week, and I needed it.
Although I learned a lot of new ‘stuff’ about writing, it was the motivation to develop my story line, plot and characters that really inspired me to get back to writing. I had missed some of that in my original draft.
I’ve written about 70k on one of my manuscripts, my favorite story. The one I really want to finish first, but as much as I thought I knew my characters and story so well, there was something missing. Some direction, some key plot points, some character attributes needed to be fleshed out to get this story done.
After doing a week with Kelley, I now realize that sitting down, planning, and spending the prep time plotting, etc. will pull my story together and guide me through it, like a map, and that has motivated me to start at the beginning.
Get it all together, spend the time preparing your story, then dive in and start writing. Follow your map, only the key points, no filler, make your characters come alive with what you now know about them, and your story will be easier to write.
Having little direction at the beginning leaves you floundering as you write, thus creating that ‘writer’s block, or whatever you want to call it. You don’t know where you’re heading and consequently you stall out.
Having a plan, a map, and all your details helps you put it all together and now I feel like I have that.
Yeah, it means starting all over, but I have my story idea, most of it written, and now with my plot cards and character sheets, I’ll be able to flesh out my story the way it should have been done in the first place.
So now I actually feel like writing again which I had somehow lost trying to make sense of what I had written by ‘pantsing’ some of it.
Direction and a map now give me a clear view of where I’m going, and I’m ready to get this story done. 🙂

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12 Responses

  1. Congrats on spending the week with Kelley and gaining such wonderful inspiration! Inspiration is so often contagious and yours has definitely flown over onto me in a way I’m so grateful for. I always thought of myself as a pantzer simply as I had no other idea of how to write, and it worked out just fine, for a while. Then 300 pages later when the monster was bigger than my skill set, not so much. A map is a wonderful tool; it keeps us on target so that we don’t wander off and wind up lost in the ink swamp. 😉 This was such an excellent topic, so glad you took the time to share it. 🙂

  2. Ditto sis from another mom! You also inspire me, encourage me, and support me and it matters to me more than you know.
    Thanks for all of it!
    Your comments are so appreciated, and I can relate to ‘the monster’ but feel better now just talking it out with you all the time.
    ‘Ink swamp’… love that!!
    Thanks for your wonderful comments. 🙂

  3. Forest Born is SO gonna rock, Pat. I’m so happy for you that Kelley let the extra three in the course!!!

    Now it’s your turn to shine, dear:)

  4. Aww thanks Anne. Totally sweet of you to say that. And thanks for the positive comments. 🙂

  5. Sounds like a very useful class. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned. I’ve come across some of those same obsticles.

  6. I’d love to hear more about your experiences in the course. As for planning- yes it is important to create some kind of map but you must also allow some flexibility there too – you never want to stray too far off course but sometimes the map changes direction suddenly and it’s okay to follow it!

    • Thanks Angela,
      I’ll try to include some of the course info in my upcoming blogs, which would give me something to blog about. I now realize how valuable the planning stage is, which I didn’t know before, and that’s made a huge difference. 🙂

  7. Wow, I’m so jealous of the week with Kelley. Great to hear that you’ve got the muses visiting again since they got lost. Have fun and I look forward to seeing the results.

  8. Thanks Gareth. It was a good week. An amazing learning experience. Thank you for the comments & support. 🙂

  9. So glad you managed to get in to Kelley’s course – talk about at the last minute!
    The map is the key – isn’t that what all those pirate movies taught me? The adventure in writing is getting your characters from Scurvy Dog Island to the treasure, in rough seas filled with giant sea monsters. But you gotta have the map!

  10. Sounds like a really great course 🙂 Good luck!!!

    Julie/Firewolf

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