Discover more from So Relatable
Grabbing the thread before it unravels. 💫
When it comes to writing and reading, I love beautiful sentences, complex conflicts, unlikely metaphors. Stories driven by characters, where the focus is less on what happens, and more on how a person reacts to what happens.
So it should come as no surprise that in my own work, plot is my biggest challenge. After all, you can only spend so many pages describing someone's complicated feelings about their hometown. At some point, something must happen in that hometown - a murder, an explosion, a betrayal. This gives your character, who so far has been looking at birds and thinking about her mother and regretting the way she broke up with her high school girlfriend, something in the present moment to look at, think about, focus on.
When I’m in the beginning stages of something new, I like to revisit the book Story Genius by Lisa Cron. The subtitle of the book (“How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel”) sounds kind of gimmicky, but I’ve found it to be extremely helpful. After three years in an MFA, where we discussed making art but not, you know, selling it, I like Cron’s perspective, her desire to help writers create something people actually want to read.
Which is why I’m spending October using her book to write an in-depth outline of the book I want to draft in November, during National Novel Writing Month, because why not harness the collective energy of a million or so other people taking on the same challenge? As I craft this outline, I’m using Cron’s method. Thinking through not only what happens in each scene and the subsequent consequences, but also why this scene matters and what realizations it sparks for the characters, for the reader. Considering if a scene is necessary, or if it slows down the story, brings the tension to grinding halt. Writing through the moments that hold the thread taut, and leaving behind the scenes that cause the whole thing to unravel, no matter how beautiful they may be. 💛
🎃 Snack of the Week 🎃
I don't care for pumpkin in most cases. Pumpkin spice latte? No, thanks. Pumpkin beer? I can take it or leave it. I just feel that of all the fall flavors, pumpkin is the least interesting or exciting. It's not even the best squash! I mean, have you MET butternut??? That said, I like a good pumpkin bread, and this one (made from a mix I got at Trader Joe's, natch) gets the job done.
It's So Much More Than Cooking, The Week. "In offering to make dinner, my husband, with the absolute best of intentions, had focused on the one thing he'd promised to do: grab a pot and a pan, put something in it, and make edible food. But what I'd wanted him to do was much more complex, so ingrained in my experience of cooking that I didn't even think to articulate it." 🥗
She Quit Her Job. He Got Night Goggles. They Searched 57 Days for Their Dog, New York Times. GOD DAMN HEROS. 🐶
The Need, Helen Phillips. This is my book club's current pick, and it's so good! Spooky and strange and so much about the work of being a mother and woman in this world (and maybe others???). Highly recommended. 📚
A Tiny Challenge
This week, let's make a plan and stick to it.
See you next Sunday! 💌
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