Spring Forward – Day 4

Reading from John Steinbeck’s journal, Journal of a Novel: the East of Eden Letters refreshed my perspective about not having written that one new scene I need for Three Heartbeats yet, and I have not sent out Auno’s Widow yet either. Steinbeck had his bad days when he’d “poop out” as he put it. Don’t know why I’m hesitating about Three Heartbeats or Auno’s Widow. It’s just resistance; the only solution is to start writing. Even if the scene hits the page badly, at least I can fix it. Anyway, today’s workshop is all about plotting–time to light the candle.


Breakfast & Journal –     7:00 am

8:30 am – Inspirational Reading –  Journal of a Novel, John Steinbeck

Inspirational Podcast – Motives Beneath Motives – Podcast – AmericanWriters.com (Runtime: 3:29)

Workshop 7 – Plotting – 9:30 am – 11:30 am

A writer’s path includes concentration, slowing down, commitment, awareness, loneliness, faith, a breakdown of ordinary perceptions–the same qualities attributed to monks or Zen Masters. —Natalie Goldberg, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING

Quick Writing Tip 009 – The Subtle Dimensions of External Conflict – AmericanWriters.com Podcasts (Runtime: 1:23)

Quick Writing Tip 001 – The Importance of Internal Conflict – AmericanWriters.com Podcasts (Runtime: 1:08)

Odyssey Workshop Podcast – The Plot Skeleton, Michael A. Burnstein (Runtime: 14:50)

Causal Connections (from Novelist’s Guide to Creating Plot, J. Madison Davis) – Write a plot outline of a novel you’ve read that you like. Keep the plot outline in chronological order, as opposed to story order. Note the relationship between consecutive steps in the plot, how one event causes the next. If you find any weak causal connections, think about why they are weak. Ask yourself how these weaknesses can be repaired. **Choose a short novel: The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan

Lunch – 11:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Workshop 8 – Plotting, Part II – 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Writing is about getting something down, not about thinking something up. –Julia Cameron, THE RIGHT TO WRITE

Continue with the Causal Connection exercise and consider plot construction in your WIP.

Break –    3:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Workshop 9 – The Plot Outline – 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Story, Narrative & What To Include – Podcast – AmericanWriters.com Podcasts (Runtime: 4:33)

Define The Conflict – Episode 9 Podcast “The Secrets” – (Runtime: 15:00)

Selected Reading: The Plot Outline, Chapter 3, Novelist’s Essential Guide to Creating Plot, J. Madison Davis, pp. 44 – 60 – and Chapter 4, From Plot to Story, pp. 61 – 77

The Parts of the Plot, p. 15, Aristotle’s Poetics, Francis Ferguson

Write the plot outline for your planned novel., include the set-up, first plot point, first pinch point, the mid-point ,  second pinch point, second plot point (climax), and resolution.

Using the Scrivener corkboard, lay out and rearrange the novel’s scenes until it seems right for the story you want to do.



One thought on “Spring Forward – Day 4

  1. Have you read “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott? I am reading it right now and finding it quite inspirational. Trying to tackle the last chapter of Shadow ‘bird by bird’.
    Your writing program sounds so interesting. Good luck achieving everything you hoped to do.

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