Not much. I have gone back to the basics. Writers’ kindergarten, if you will. Am focusing on how to tell a story. How to create curiosity in the reader. I thought I knew, but what stopped me was I couldn’t think how to tell a story in person. When my kids, then grandkids, were small I told them stories all the time. Made them up whole cloth, rarely repeated them, never wrote them down (dammit). I had a whole series of Just This Much Scary stories I told because that was all the scary my little granddaughter could take (she showed me with her finger and thumb just how scary to make the story). Another series was Grandma Thorn. These stories had the mom dropping off the two children at Grandma Rose’s house, who turned into Grandma Thorn once mom drove off. She was the evil side of grandma, of course, and she worked those children to the bone, and never gave them food.
But I wanted to know the details. What makes a good story? What keeps people listening or reading? So I went to lynda.com and watched Lisa Cron a few times, re-read Bill Johnson’s book (The Story is a Promise), and just yesterday I watched Ira Glass on youtube.
I think I finally got it. In any case, I was able to write out the pitch for my current book.
Also, my old friend and collaborator and I have taken on the task of revising a play we wrote a few decades ago. Both of us are now seasoned authors and revisers. Easy to see not only the problems with the original draft, but to see the fixes as well. We are working together for an hour each week, and however many hours we are able on our own. This is exciting and productive, fun and creative work.
I’ll leave you with what I think I got: First, something has to happen. Second, to whom does it happen? Third, what is her goal? Fourth, how does your protagonist change?
How do you deal with your writing dilemmas? Obviously, I go seeking answers, even when I’m not sure what the problem is. Better than eating ice cream in front of the TV until my light bulb comes on. Cause that never happens.