Monday Mayhem – Old Dogs and Happy Goats

This weekend was the annual Diamond State Romance Authors writing retreat! We rented a lovely house on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs. Here was my writing view from the deck:

This time, I didn’t have a deadline pressing on me, but I had a couple things I wanted to work on. Like many of my writer friends, I’ve found myself struggling with the words over the summer, so I was also looking for some new tricks to jumpstart the old motivation.

Most writers will classify themselves in one of two ways: plotter or pantser. Plotter is pretty self-exlanitory. Those writers plot each bit of a book before they even begin. Pantsers write by the seat of their pants.

I started out as — and still naturally identify as — a pantser. But my career has moved at such a pace that I find I am selling books to publishers based on a synopsis of what I think future book will be. If I leave it up to my pantsing tendencies, I tend to veer off course from that synopsis, so I’ve evolved into sort of a plotser.

Adding dictation to my bag of tricks has also changed my writing style. I found I needed to have a pretty good sense of what I was trying to accomplish in that scene before I could speak it. Which meant, I had to do some *gasp* plotting.

This weekend, I took my first steps toward becoming a full-fledged plotter. The fabulous Brinda Berry showed me an awesome template she’d started using. I bought the book (FOOL PROOF OUTLINE) and downloaded that template.

In one afternoon, I’d done over 3,000 words of story outline, character worksheets, and scene plotting for a new project. Here’s hoping this new trick will work for this old dog.

In other news, Kelli Reep and I saw a goat riding in the back of a truck on the way home.


Welcome to Arkansas.

How about you? Did you learn any new tricks this week?

9 Replies to “Monday Mayhem – Old Dogs and Happy Goats”

  1. I’m glad you picked up some new tricks! I think I’m gonna have to become more of a plotter as I go along. It’s the only way for me to stay focused and on track.

    Do you know if that goat happened to be blind? A blind goat was stolen from an Alberta farm a few days ago…because that’s apparently what some people do for fun in Canada.

  2. Hope that new template works out. It sounds like you are on the right track. Is there hot springs in Hot Springs? A retreat sounds like heaven.

    1. Yes, Hot Springs was once a famous resort town known for the mineral springs baths. Many of the old bath houses have been preserved. Gangsters, politicians, movie stars, etc. Fun fact: Tony Bennett debuted ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’ in Hot Springs, AR. 🙂

  3. “I am selling books to publishers based on a synopsis of what I think future book will be.” You should be VERY proud of that statement! Well done! Sounds like the new template will work well for you. Keep at it. And I’m jealous of that view.

    1. One day, I will be as brilliant as Brinda… No, no I won’t because I don’t have Brinda’s patience and/or capacity for learning and sharing. <3

  4. Pantser sounds like someone more fun to have at a party, that’s for sure.
    A week or so ago, on one of our major city thoroughfares, I passed a guy riding a scooter. He had on one of those neon yellow vests, and he was pulling a small trailer. On the trailer was a lawnmower. (Would be a better story if it was a goat, huh?) Oh well, it made me look twice!
    Good luck with your plotting!

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