Welcome to Catching

So, I’m writing a new book. The title is, Welcome to Catching. Maybe if I can get my act together, it will be done by the end of the year, and I’ll be ready to publish next spring. We’ll see. I’m not going to rush it.
Thanks to a workshop I took on how to structure a novel, I am writing this book differently than I have done in the past. My usual modus-operandi is what writers call “Pantsing.” Writing by the seat of your pants. Just let it rip. That’s kind of my general personality, so it’s really no wonder I lean that direction.
Some very fun things happen when you just write and let the characters go where they want to go and say what they want to say, but to make that work, I really need to get deep into the story and characters—absorb them and become them. So, yeah… that’s a little weird, right? But it is cool. Because people who are avid readers know they get lost in a really good book and even mourn when characters die or the story ends. It’s why some people love to read long-running series; the places and people can stay in their lives and the reader can live in that world.
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When structuring a novel, though, we look at things like plot points, midpoint, inciting incidents, points of no return, dark moments, and climax. We write the story to get to those places. And if a writer is really good (my constant goal) a writer does this at very specific points in the story. See the picture at the top of the page.
So, with this new book, I’ve plotted it out. I’ve created the three act structure and know what my first plot point is, where the midpoint is and what the second plot point is. I know what’s going to happen at the climax and how it will end. This is really kind of new for me. I visited with a book club last night and told them that when I wrote Thorns of Rosewood, I didn’t know the very ending until the fourth rewrite and about three chapters prior to writing the last chapter. I actually discover the story as I’m writing it.
So, we’ll see if this works, this organization thing. Hey, Aristotle invented it. It’s withstood the test of time. What’s not good about that, right?
Oh, what’s Welcome to Catching about? It’s about the relationship of a father and daughter, and their fight to save a small town that’s dying. Why is it dying? Because the town’s young people go off to college and then move away to live in bigger cities. A town needs young blood to keep it alive? And Catching is way past due for a meal.

14 thoughts on “Welcome to Catching

  1. Sue says:

    Short story Nobel winner Alice Munro says, “Sometimes I get the start of a story from a memory, an anecdote, but that gets lost and is usually unrecognizable in the final story.”

    I usually start out “pantsing,” but it’s amazing to me how things can connect sometimes.

    I just wrote a story I titled “Croatian Spring” because of a memory I had of a good friend whose lineage/ancestry is Croat. It’s about an American college student who goes to Yugoslavia during the Cold War and has all sorts of (mis)adventures.

    As I was researching Yugoslavia, I discovered “Croatian Spring” was the name of a movement back in the 1970’s that was pushing for more freedom. What a coincidence! Or was it?

    Further in the story I mention her being in a bar, singing “In Heaven There is No Beer” and then I look up details on the song. Turns out a Slovenian made it popular in the U.S. So, there was another connection to Yugoslavia.

    I felt like the Muses were with me. I was in “the zone.” I can’t believe the connections that were coming to me automatically. It was crazy! “It was meant to be.”

    I love it when that happens. I’ve had things fall in place for me like that before (not often enough, though). It is such a rush!

    I think it’s good to have a combination of “pantsing” and knowledge of structure. If you try to use one or the other method, you can lose something. When exclusively writing by the seat of your pants, it’s easy to go off on a tangent and lose structure (and your reader). But when focusing too much on structure, you can lose some of your freedom and creativity.

    Happy Writing! I look forward to delving into the small town of Catching!

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      It’s like once the mind becomes open to ideas, they start to fall together. I’ll look forward to your Croation story.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      We’ll have to see how this works for me. So far, I’m feeling a little stifled by it. Glad you can use it. Syd Fields Paradigm. I need to make it something that lives in my head, not just on paper.

      • Gina-
        I fully understand. I am a pantser who outlines 3 chapters at a time, then writes them. The type of system I use is simple the three act play method I teach. If you want something less stifling, get Steven James book Story Trumps Structure. It is my new bible, coming from a person who hates how-to books. You will love it, because it gives you permission to write with just general ideas in mind. Good stuff! I teach several ways of plotting, but this one suits me best.

        • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

          I’ll pick up that book.
          I think it’s good for me to understand the reasons behind how a good story plays out. What do they say? It’s okay to break the rules as long as you know them. I like stretching my writing muscles, and I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve got a lot to learn. It means a big deal for me to get advice from great writers like you. It’s why I surround myself with smart people! Thanks for being a friend, Hope! You are appreciated.

      • Sue says:

        Keep the structure in the background, Gina. Don’t focus on it so much. Let the creative juices flow. Your brain already knows there’s a structure so your writing may automatically reflect that new knowledge.

  2. Yea for you. Let me know how you like this method. I am hoping to apply more organization to plotting my novels in the future. I’ve wasted lots of time writing by the seat of my pants.

  3. I hope that works for you, Gina. I’m still plugging away at my three novels in progress, but I have another (that I started with Barbara Salvatore) at fall conference that just begs for my time. I’m thinking about actually outlining a plot for that one–since I’m just starting with the concept. Let me know how it works for you.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      Hey, that’s really cool you’re doing a project with Barbara. You guys will have to tell me all about that at conference!

  4. You know I’m a huge fan of plotting and figuring things out beforehand. I bet you’ll like where it guides you. I find when I plot the story out first, I can start writing from the get-go. No time spent with block or wondering where to take the story.

    Welcome to Catching sounds great!

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