Thursday, February 16, 2012

Plotter? Planner? Pantser?

If you've been wondering where I was for last four weeks, I've been busy planning, plotting, pantsing, critiquing, editing and revising. I've never written a full length novel.  A chapter book is the biggest project I've completed so far.  At the last two conferences I met with editors and agents.  We talked about my picture book EVERYONE DID THEIR PART and they suggested that I should expand it into a mid grade novel.  Sooooo...I've been working on it.  As of right now I'm on Chapter 9.

I did a lot of research to get ready to write this story.  I interviewed several people, read a load of books,visited historic sites, visited websites, and of course took loads of photos when I was in England.

While I was reading I jotted down notes of words and phrases I wanted to use in my book.  I typed up all my notes and then broke them down into different categories: fun words; phrases; sites and sounds in particular places; scenes broken down into locations,  and character descriptions.

Then I wrote them on note cards and stuck them on poster board. I sorted them into specific groups.

I sorted the cards into where that scene should take place.   So I have a bunch of these:  The Blitz, The Train Station, The Train, Leek, New Home, New School, Countryside, Town Market, and Church.  I'm sure I will be making more of these as I go along, but this is where I'm at right now.

I was able to enlist my dear friend Gary Pennick to take some photographs of Leek.  I haven't been there since I was 6 or 7.  I'm bowled over that Gary agreed to do this for me.  He didn't hesitate for a second.  (Thanks you, Gary)  It's just another reason I love my bloggy friends.  (HUG)

My Brilliant Niece, Bethany Runyan, did this great gator picture to help me get the right frame of mind for
 the other writing project I've been working on has been with my wicked cool cp, Lenny Lee.

We did four versions of the story before we sent it to the people who volunteered to critique it.  Lenny and I adore everyone who helped out!  Thank you, Corey, Janet, Robyn, Melissa, Susan Quinn and Jackee!  We <3 you!

We went over everyone's critiques one at a time with our manuscript and made lots of changes.  So are ready to send it out one last time before we start querying.  I'm so excited (I think Lenny is too).

(Insert photo of my massive bicepts here.)

The other thing I've been doing is working on my health.  I joined a fitness club.  I go six days a week (usually).  We alternate with kickboxing and strength training.  That sounds easy right?  Well let me tell you, I leave so exhausted I can barely walk each day.  Yesterday when I got home, I went up to take a shower...I was pulling my socks off and BAM I fell over.  So other than my balance issues, I can proudly report I have made progress.  On day 1, I could do 4 push ups in one minute, 31 sit ups and run a 12:21 mile (in the winter in Iowa).  On the last day of week 5, I could do 31 push ups and 36 sit ups.  I didn't run the mile as it was about 3 degrees and the wind was howling.  I haven't lost any weight but my waist went down 2.5 inches, chest 1.75 inches, and arm (biceps) down .75 inches.  So I am pretty pleased with my progress.

One of the great things about the program is it also has a nutrition side to it.  You keep track of your carbs, proteins, vegetables and water intake.  One day a week you get to have a fun day.  You get to eat or drink anything you want.  It is supposed to be a metabolism booster.  Let me tell you....I live for Saturdays!  Walt and I go out for brunch after I get back from the gym and we either have dinner out or order in.  Sunday is a no exercise day, but I'm thinking about walking or running on Sundays.

So as you can see, I've kept busy in a productive manner.  I did miss all of you and am glad to be back to blogging in the evenings.  Can't wait to see what everyone has been up to.

Hugs to all.....


  1. Hi Sharon .. that is just great news - I'll be so interested to read your book about England and finally fill in those gaps you've been mentioning! I can imagine Gary going the extra mile for you ..

    Now Lenny's picture book - I bet he's having so much fun .. I can hear his mind whirling .. Bethany's drawing is fun isn't it .. so clever - I hope Gator gets to hold Lenny on his knee?

    Good for you on treading the boards, lifting tins of baked beans and braving the cold air .. sounds as though it's paying off - congratulations ..

    I'm sure you're pretty pleased with all three progresses ... enjoy your breakout day tomorrow! Cheers Hilary

  2. Lovely Sharon! I look forward to pics of your massive biceps...!

    I am so impressed and in AWE at your plotting skills and colour co-ordinated post it notes that I am drooling with envy! How wonderful!! Yay!

    Awwww fab progress report about your book with Lenny too!! Double Yay!!!

    I am now waving to the handsome Gator! Take care

  3. Bestie, that book (Gabe)is awesome!!!!!!!! (Thanks for the shoutout.) And your mg sounds wonderful. It is a lot of work writing a novel. But you have what it takes! I'll offer what nonsense (that's about the size of my feedback) I can.

    You did a lot of work on the novel before even starting it. Bravo, bff.

    We're in this together. (That dang diet/exercise thank)

    FAT BE GONE! ;-)

  4. I am so impressed with all you've been doing, my friend! Wow. I can't wait to read more about Gabe and read Everyone Did Their Part (which I remember as a short story) And I want to see you massive biceps. Also, I laughed when you said you fell over pulling your socks off. I'm constantly falling over for no apparent reason.

  5. You sure have been busy! Bethany's drawing is terrific! I am a plotter LOL!

  6. Sounds like you are doing all the write things to transform your story! I'm not a full-on plotter, but I do like to have an idea of where I'm headed story-wise - even if that changes as I write.

    Best of luck writing and working out!

  7. Sharon I am so pleased for you. You are a real inspiration and as I soon as I drop this baby bump I shall be joining the health management crusade. 6 weeks to go.

    I love this whole post. Full of positive energy.

  8. wow! jolly good post! :) ha ha. im soooo happy youre back posting cause i miss you. and im happy youre doing lots of writing on your mg book. and for sure im real happy gabe gators doing good. cool picture! good for you on doing soooo good on your exercising and eating right.
    ...big hugs from lenny

  9. Okay, I'll bite...what's a 'pantser?' You sound like you've been super busy and loving it. Your post has actually inspired me to get back to my memoir. I left off at about age 25 (the memoir) so there's lots more to write :) if only I didn't stop for hours 'remembering.'
    Your gym schedule is impressive...I can barely get through a couple of Zumba classes a week! You'll gave to post some pics of the new body too :)

  10. Love the colorful postcards, dear! I can't wait to see what kind of book it turns out to be because I love it as a pb!

    Hugs to you and Lenny! WTG on the health side of things!

  11. I'm a serious plotter as well. In fact I'm in the middle of doing that for a new novel right now!

    And YAY for the success of your workout regiment! Quite an achievement! :)

  12. I'm just checking to see if I have word verification on....a lot of people on facebook are complaining about it.

  13. Oh my stars Sharon! You have been a busy busy gal!

    Good for you for still working on your health. Me too! We are totally worth it aren't we??? :)

    Have a very happy healthy weekend!
    xo Catherine

  14. Welcome back! You've been doing amazing things while you were away. I am impressed with your note cards. I always wanted to try that. Plus, I love that gator picture.

    I would live for Saturdays, too. :) I'm glad you're getting your writing and body in shape. I need to do the same.

    Have a great weekend.

  15. I'm gonna try to start going to the gym this friday. I'm really proud of you Sharon, I know how hard it is, and its so cool you're doing it!!
    And great idea with the post its, I might do that myself!

    Cheers! : )

  16. That is very impressive, I know that I don't do enough of plotting, it always makes the writing easier.

  17. You certainly have been busy and productive! I'm hoping for good things to happen for you, and especially for your project with Lenny.

  18. You sure have been busy. Hope all good things happen to you now.

  19. wow, I love seeing your process. I thought I was a planner until I saw all your cards. :)

  20. You've been very, very busy! I'm impressed - and your organization is very cool! (and just a little scary for a pantster like me! :))

    My computer's been out at Techie Repair Land so sadly, I haven't kept up much with the bloggy world either. But I've been writing by hand - which is more fun than I thought!

  21. Hi, Sharon! I've seen other writers use similar outlining processes as yours. I'm definitely a plotter, but I usually outline in a notebook. I'll have to give this process a try some time, though!

    Good for you with your working out and nutrition. I'm a runner, too, but not ever in the cold (I use an elliptical in the winter!) so I have great admiration for your running in the Iowa winter! Brrrrr!!!

  22. Hi Sharon,

    Even your plotting is so nicely stuck on! You should see mine...Lol! Stick-ons stuck on a big poster every other way!

  23. You've been very productive! Congrats on all you've been accomplishing. Your MG novel sounds super interesting, and it's awesome that you're working out and eating well. Good for you--literally. :)

  24. Wow, I envy your ability to be so organized and so productive, both in your writing and in your fitness/health. Kudos! And thank you for the comment re: the anniversary of my Annie's passing--it's much appreciated.

  25. Sure sounds like you've been busy, indeed! Good work!

  26. It's good to see you back and being so active! Good for you! And I must say you are really disciplined when it comes to how you've put your storyboard together. It sounds like it will turn out to be a great book!

  27. Wonderful news all around. I'm so impressed with your workouts, too. :)

  28. Taking care of our physical bodies is so important. Good for you for your training! And good luck with everything else in your busy life.

  29. Holy moly, you've been busy! And look at all those organised post-its!

    Major kudos to you for exercising. I really need to get out more.

  30. wow, that is organized!
    I always covet when authors post about their process and show colour coded anything. I have such a non-flashy writing style. I wish I used colour.

  31. So awesome! Both the book and the fitness! I love to hear how you are progressing. Good luck with the querying! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for both of you!

  32. All this sounds so exciting. You have been busy. I'm so interested in your novel. Your exercise routine sounds grueling, but you will feel great soon (as soon as your muscles stop freaking out). You already sound full of energy and exuberance. Cheers.

  33. Oh, Sharon, I know you're busy with your book and other projects but you've been tagged ;D
    I highlighted your blog through the tag game. Please visit my blog for details. I think it's fun. You get a lot of blog exposure ;)
    Have fun!

  34. WoW! You have done so much! I actually am more impressed with how healthy you have become and wish I could do what you did!!
    But your pictures of your story board are way impressive too! I can't wait to hear the update that you have a book deal:)

  35. It sounds like you've been busy and productive! :)

    That is one organized set of cards.

  36. Hi Sharon,
    First of all, humble apologies for not getting over here, sooner. Much to my amazement and heartfelt joy, I was swamped with so many comments of kindness, caring and encouragement on my anniversary posting. Of which, dear lady, your comment is truly cherished.
    Right then, enough about me. I know just how busy you have been during your time away from blogging. There is much for you to do and your meticulous detail will, no doubt, keep you in an upbeat, positive frame of mind. That, along with your continued realisation towards a healthier, happier you.
    Very kind of you to make note about me in your posting. Thank you and I shall endeavour, weather permitting, to forward you more photos within the next few days of this little market town of Leek and surrounding areas.
    Hugs to you and all those who interact on your lovely and informative site.
    With respect and healthy wishes, your way, Gary

  37. Wow, look at all those cards. I say PLOTTER!

    Your dedication to exercise is putting me to shame. At least I took a yoga class last night.

    Keep up all your hard work!