Trinity Adler, who wrote the poem “Hope” in Written Across the Genres, invited other anthology contributors to come to Pacific Grove Good Old Days Festival this Saturday, April 5th, from noon to 2 p.m. Trinity will have five copies of the book for sale and signing.
My anthology, Written Across the Genres, has two Dock Stories toward the end of the book. The setting is Paris, the dock is below the Pont Neuf, the oldest of the 37 bridges that cross the Seine River. Both versions are collaborative stories. I wrote the first paragraph and each person in my two writing classes added 150 words to the story when it was their turn. Dock Story One had more people that contributed, which made the details of the mystery difficult to coordinate, but it turned out after several months of editing. Dock Story Two had half the entries, about ten, and with the same beginning paragraph, became a totally different plot.
Those stories weren’t outlined. The writers met the challenge of continuing the story so the actions would be logical and the arcs would be clear. We had major problems with the arc in Dock Story One. The first draft, didn’t have an arc, so we had to eliminate everything after the first four entries and start over. Since I am not a writer who uses outlines, I had faith these stories would succeed. My outstanding assistant, Linda, who is a plotter, had doubts but worked hard on managing the details.
Lisa Cron in Wired for Story, Chapter Five, satisfies both plotters and non-plotters in her suggestions to think of outlining, not from beginning to end, but to put into play the Who, Why, Where, How and What Will Happen. That concept works for me, one who shudders at the word outline. In the Dock Stories, I started the Who and Where. The class members had to think in terms of What Will Happen and provided the How and Why.
Check the two versions of the Pont Neuf Dock Stories in Written Across the Genres, and see the differences in What Happened.
The anthology is available on Amazon or can be ordered at most book stores.
The view near the apartment where we stayed. When the Tower sparkled, we rushed to it.
On the plane ride to France, I read Cara Black’s Murder in Glichy. Each of her mysteries take place in a different part of Paris. Reading her book and being in two countries for a few days made me want to use European settings for future stories.The Air France Bus I took from the airport stopped at the Etoile Arc de Triomphe, a few blocks from the apartment where Mitchell wrapped up the board meeting held there. We were fortunate to be able to stay at that same apartment above the H&M on the Champs Elysees. The location was ideal with shops, restaurants, and multiple theater choices. The Lauduree store across the street had a continuous line of macaroon cookie lovers eager to buy several flavors. A longer walk in the opposite direction from the Arc led to the Lourve and the Seine River. We could see the top of the Eiffel Tower between buildings so we rushed over to it when the sparkling lights were showing. The choice to leave Paris for a day and a half with a short tour of Germany was not an easy one to make. However, since we had been to Paris two other times and never to Germany, we accepted Mitchell’s colleague’s invitation to stay at her house. Tomorrow I’ll blog about that adventure.
In Wired for Story, on page 31, Lisa Cron corrects the myth that the plot is simply what the story is about. She says that the reality is, “A story is about how the plot affects the protagonist.”
She continues on page 39 that “the plot’s goal isn’t simply to find out whether he snags that brass ring or not; rather, it’s to force him to confront the internal issue that’s keeping him from it in the first place.”
I’ve found her book to help in digging deeper for the real story behind the inciting incident and the continuing plot.