It’s that time again… time for the plotting group of which I’m a part to meet. This is a wonderful event in which Geri Foster, Sylvia McDaniel, Kathy Shaw, and I participate. In addition to helping flesh out plots, the retreat gives me a burst of enthusiasm, rekindles my fire, and is a lot of fun.
When we first began meeting, we went to a hotel for our plotting retreat. This was productive. We laugh a lot, though, as we work and we stay up late and rise early. We craved privacy so we didn’t bother anyone and no one bothered us.
Now four of us go to a lovely lakeside house and sequester ourselves for several days and nights. We arrive with our plots in mind and the main characters detailed. What we work on are the turning points and the conflict that keeps the couple from achieving a happily-ever-after.
Using a plotting board and Post-it notes, we take turns brainstorming new books. This is not a lark, by the way. Yes, adult beverages may be served, but not many. We work about sixteen hours a day or more as we take turns plotting books. By the time we leave, each of us will have several books outlined and ready to write.
Do we have to have a retreat to write? No, of course
not. Each of us has been writing more years than we care to admit, but we
believe brainstorming and mapping out our plots together creates a better book.
When we get home and write each book, we may take detours on our outline/map,
but we will stick to the basic plot we’ve outlined at the retreat.
|Pink for heroine, blue for hero, etc.|
Many writers are what we call “pantsers”—they write by the seat of their pants. A basic kernel of an idea is all they need to write. I have tried writing without an outline. My writing wanders around and sags in the middle unless I have a well-planned outline to follow.
Readers most likely don’t know whether the writer is a plotter or a pantser and probably don’t care. Certainly when I’m reading I only want the book to intrigue me and deliver a solid story. For us, the retreat helps us deliver the best books we can and turn them out faster than if we plotted on our own. The adult beverages probably enhance our ideas.
Writing is the best job ever!