I watch very few TV programs, but I had the Live Kelly & Michael show playing today while I sorted receipts and looked for my tax spreadsheet to fill out before Friday. She gave statistics, which I don’t remember, about how many women were unhappy with their husband’s marriage proposal and wished they could change it.
Since Mitchell and I have returned from Paris, the city where, on our first trip in 2003, we confirmed our feelings for each other, I thought about Mitchell’s proposal. No, it wasn’t in Paris. It was 2011. We sat on a Victorian style couch at the Hilton lobby near the entrance to the restaurant while waiting for it to open. No one was around. Mitchell surprised me, slid off the couch, got on his knee and proposed. I’m not part of the statistics Kelly quoted. I’m very happy with Mitchell’s marriage proposal.
How about you? What was yours like? Are you happy with it or are you part of Kelly’s statistics?
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.