Welcome Roseanne Dowell


To Plot or Not

Recently, at one of our local chapter of RWA meetings, the speaker spoke about plotting a novel and writing a synopsis before the book was written. She suggested if we had never done that to try it. So I did. I had an idea for a story and it was taking shape in my mind. As usual, I knew how it would begin and how it would end. What happened in the middle? I didn’t have a clue. Oh, I had a few ideas. I knew there was a secret about my heroine’s birth. But I didn’t have too many other ideas. I wanted a dead body to appear someplace that the heroine would find. But I had no idea who he was (yes, I knew it was a male) or why he was killed.

So I tried plotting.

I came up with a few ideas about his identity and even about who murdered him. But, I still had no idea why. Okay, I thought I had enough to start plotting. So I did and came up with a pretty good story line, so I started writing. And I wrote and it flowed pretty well, until I got to the dead body. I was able to have my heroine discover the body.

Then I was stuck. I was totally blocked.

The story sat for the better part of the year without me typing even one word. Every time I opened it, I’d read what I had written, make a few changes and then I got to the part where I was stumped. I stared at the computer, sometimes for hours, trying to come up with something, anything –even if it was garbage – just to get me past that hump. I couldn’t do it. So I’d move on to something else. I revised several other stories that I’d written a long time ago.

It wasn’t until one day; I was emailing my writing buddy about how I was stuck. I needed help and any suggestions she could offer would be most welcome. I wrote what I had so far, where I wanted the story to go. For some reason, in that email, I started to ask what if, which is how I usually write. I threw out a couple of ideas to her and answered them myself. Finally, I was unblocked. I created a new character to add to the story and another conflict. This is how I usually write, asking what if as I write, coming up with new ideas.

For me, plotting doesn’t work. I’ll never do it again. For others, it works fine and good for them.

I guess my whole point is – write the way it’s comfortable for you, not the way others think you should.

My current novel, Time to Live Again is available from Red Rose Publishing – http://redrosepublishing.com

You can visit me at my website www.roseannedowell.com

 or my blog http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com/

Roseanne is the mother of six, grandmother of thirteen with another on the way and soon to be great grandmother. She teaches writing classes at Long Story Short Writing School –  www.lsswritingschool.com  You can find more of Roseanne’s work at Amazon.com, just type in her name. Besides writing, Roseanne enjoys reading, quilting, ceramics, and making jewelry.

6 Responses to “Welcome Roseanne Dowell”
  1. It’s so true that writers can spend ages spinning our wheels if we try to follow someone else’s process. It took me years to discover the process that works for me–a strange blend of pantzing and plotting where I write the blurb first in order to establish GMC, then I plot as I go. Occasionally, I’ll jot down ideas for scenes or settings if they come to me ahead of time, but detailed synopsis/outlines are not for me!

    Thank you for being our guest at EtS today, Roseanne. We’re happy to have you:)

  2. Susan Blexrud says:

    Welcome, Roseanne. I love the notion of having an older heroine, and I applaud you for Time to Live Again. (The ghost is a great addition, too.)
    Take care, and thanks for being here today.

  3. Welcome to the blog. As for me, I’m a firm believer in plotting. I’ve written without an outline or a plan, but I don’t like it. I tend to get stuck and off the rails without a guidemap. I love looking at my outlines and the reasons for why the characters do stuff. It makes me feel positive toward the book and cuts down on rewriting and back tracking. But that’s just me 🙂 I’m a planner in the rest of my life too! LOL

    • roseanne says:

      Funny thing, I’m a planner in the rest of my life. I like things orderly and running smoothly. I’m also a list maker and I often write notes of things I want to do on certain days (partly so I don’t forget – my memory isn’t what it used to be). So it surprised me that it didn’t work in my writing. I neglected to say in my blog, the person I thought was the killer, ended up not being. Once I got over that, I was able to continue writing. I often write scenes ahead also. On my WIP I have several scenes written that I’ll add in when the time comes.

  4. Suzanne Rock says:

    Hi Rosanne – Thanks so much for stopping by! i think there are as many different ways of writing a book as there are authors, lol. I’m glad that you found what works for you. Congrats on your release!

  5. chandraryan says:

    I’ve found there are as many ways to write as there are writers 🙂 That being said, I’m with you. I tried plotting once and it didn’t work out for me. I can see where it would help cut down on time and revisions, but when I was trying it the conversations felt forced and the pace seemed wrong. But I’ve read authors I know are plotters and they do it beautifully. I’m glad you found the method that works for you and you finished the story.

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    If you'd like to schedule an interview contact Susan Blexrud.

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