Summer Days

Tis summer and it's difficult to focus on work, on writing. Lawn work calls, the flower garden calls, and there are chats with the neighbors, and driving to see Mom and help her with some yard work.

 My back yard and deck are looking pretty good! 

My back yard and deck are looking pretty good! 

Bird Feeding Tasks

Mom loves to feed the birds so my task consisted of potting her flowers while she refilled the bird feeders!

What birds flock to her home? Sparrows, robins, red-winged black birds, and grackles are common birds in our area as are goldfinches, house finches, purple finches, cardinals, and mourning doves. She also has woodpeckers-either downies or yellow bellied sapsuckers and nuthatches. Usually there's also a jenny wren, in one of the little birdhouses attached to the shed.  

Yesterday, though, something a bit different sat on the finch feeder. A couple of birds with lots of red on their bellies and black or dark gray on their backside. Very territorial. It's not a tanager. It's not a bluebird.  I need to search more.  

Writing and Worksheeting

The writing? My focus there has been on worksheeting, layering in, and building up my story. 

When I feel stuck or it seems like the story needs something more, then I create worksheets to help me sort through the logistics. A novel can be so unwieldy and it's helpful to see all the birds of a habitat on one page (ha! see what I did there). 

Fiction University

Most recently, I came across Fiction University's guest column titled Four Pillars by Jeff Seymour. It's rather amazing how blogs can essentially say the same things but the examples used in one work better than examples used in the other. 

I have known for a awhile now, that to have a successful story, we need a plot. Essentially answering the questions:

  1. what does our main character want?
  2. what or who is stopping her or him from getting it?
  3. what is s/he doing about it?

I've seen variations on these questions and examples listed on many blogs geared towards writers of fiction. I've studied it. Tried to wrap my head around it. 

Then I see this blog on Fiction University. Seymour lists four pillars and gives examples from Pride & Prejudice and from Star Wars:

  1. What does the main character value?
  2. What does the main character want?
  3. What's in the main character's way?
  4. What is the main character doing about it?

I've seen these questions and examples before, somewhere, but for some reason my brain and the words used in his column brought it all together for me.

Beautiful. So I'm off and running! It's a Saturday. With rain predicted.

Time to work on the story!