I’m an obsessive plotter. Before I begin a new novel, before I put the first words on paper, I create detailed outlines, charts, and graphs. Fifteen beats from Save the Cat? Check. Stages of the Hero’s Journey? Done. Freytag’s Triangle? Climbed up—slid down.

I have a roadmap, and I’m ready to roll. I write the first third, then follow Master Teacher Jack Remick’s advice—I write the ending. My characters are along for the ride, and it’s all fun and games until we hit the muddy middle. 

Something funky always happens to me in the middle of a novel—I get off track, can’t remember where I’m going, or even where I’ve been. 

I review my notes, consult the charts, drink gallons of coffee—switch to wine. I call writer buddies for advice. I print the entire sloppy mess out and spread scenes across every flat surface in my house. I drink more wine.

After two or three days of this, my characters get bored. They gang up on me—they shout at me.

“Enough already. Get on with it!”

So, together we march past the muddy middle—we focus on the shining climax just up the way. Later, my editor will get to the mud bath and wonder, what the heck happened here? But that’s later.

Messy stuff, this writing business. But if you’re hooked, you’re hooked. Nothing you can do but put words on paper and keep on truckin.’

COMING SOON:  Turbulent Waters – A Pacific Northwest Thriller. Stay tuned!

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