Myth Creation

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Today, Wednesday 1st April is the moment that sees great events collide – and for some that means never believe anything – there could be a prank lurking.

For me this is the first day of the Blogging from A to Z (April 2015) Challenge, the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group post, and the day when submissions open at Crooked Cat – very relevant as I am an avid Cat reader with dozens of their books on my Kindle.

After all the valuable comments from my beta readers, and the involvement of my excellent editor, Sue Barnard, I intend to be submitting “Storms Compass”, the first part of my “Gossamer Flames” saga. Whether it is suitable remains to be seen.

LATEST NEWS ON APRIL  3rd: I have decided that I will not be submitting “Storms Compass” to Crooked Cat, as (a) it is not suitable due to the overt fantasy/shamanic aspect; (b) it still needs a stronger overarching plot-line with the distinct protagonist and antagonist appearing more; (c) it’s too short still at 45,600 words..

On to IWSG and today’s insecurity – or rather an insecurity that’s been told to wait in the garden. Many experts talk about the right arcs/stages to make a novel work – and the wrong ones. Which method do you use?

I’ve been looking at my WIPs to see if the stages are in the right place. I admit that I am a plotter, but I structure as the story unfolds in my head, then scrawl notes, and then make an outline/guideline. But I don’t use arcs or stages to work anything out – when the story reaches 25% it moves on of its own accord. No forceful persuasion.

And my first drafts, especially the most recent? They are, without consciously plotting them that way, following those prescribed arcs. Why?

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I recollect that Joseph Campbell, in Hero with a Thousand Faces, mentioned the ancient story tellers and how their plots were structured. He termed it the monomyth and found it in most world mythology.

Is there something in a storyteller’s makeup that allows us to instinctively weave a plot that works? Perhaps the process matures over time, the more tales we read, watch or write. How did the writers of the classics achieve this without the guidance that we have in the 21st century? Or is that where the Muses come in?

All Nine often used to come to me, I mean the Muses:
But I ignored them: my girl was in my arms.
Now I’ve left my sweetheart: and they’ve left me,
And I roll my eyes, seeking a knife or rope.
But Heaven is full of gods: You came to aid me:
Greetings, Boredom, mother of the Muse.

Epigram 27 * Venetian Epigrams (1790)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832)

 That epigram or poetic observation had a significance for Goethe that is shared by one of my characters in “Seeking A Knife”, the second novel in the Snowdon Shadows series, and at present it is positioned before the tale begins. It could even be significant that the Venetian Epigrams were published in 1790, so available to any well-bred gentleman that fought in the War of 1812, like the naval officer whose Memoirs play such a key role in “Seeking A Knife”.

As for my A to Z Challenge post, that follows once you have recovered.

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Purpose of the IWSG day: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post our thoughts on our own blog. Talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. Discuss our struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with our fellow writers – aiming for a dozen new people each time.  Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
Alex Cavanaugh’s awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Suzanne Furness,Tonja Drecker, Toi Thomas, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, and Donna Hole!

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Parallel Plotting Predicament

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Plotting was simple with previous draft novels, even when there were two interweaving plot arcs. But how did I end up with three parallel ones? More important how should I be writing this novel?

Draft blurb for “Seeking a Knife”: Welsh Detective Sergeant Sparkle Lodge suspects that the death of a researcher is linked to the priceless 200 year-old Memoirs sent to Nadine Palmour, a Native American journalist. Is Nadine descended from the author of the Memoirs, an English naval officer, Talcott Wendell? Is the theft of his naval dirk in 1920 a cold case that has to be resurrected?

Three POVs in three separate settings, two separated by location – North Wales and Texas – and the other by historical time – the memoirs are from the War of 1812, between the USA and the British in Canada.

I recognise that there are three different areas of research, three sets of character sketches, but are three outlines that gradually weave together? I had initially planned to do all the research, character sketches, and then one interweaving outline of the whole novel. I have a rough outline so know how the novel should unfold – and a time line for the present day arcs. But the great plan hasn’t worked out beyond those elements.

My first POV character, a Welsh Goth in the North Wales Poice  arrested me. Who wouldn’t want to develop a character based on Abi in NCIS? So I have her sketched out, and a few lines on those she interacts with.  Worst of all I have written around 10,000 words that cover the first third of the novel from her POV.

Do I stop? Do I continue with her story, until she meets the Native American? Or should I just work on the parts that inspire me?

Pauley Perrette aka Abi

Pauley Perrette aka Abi

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. This is my attempt to talk about my doubts and the fears that I am trying to conquer. I want to be encouraging, and by posting perhaps this is a way of saying keep striving. Visit IWSG and some other great bloggers, not all as insecure but great fun.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
The awesome co-hosts for this February 4 posting of the IWSG are Gwen Gardner, Dolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax!