by Jackie King
The amount of time it took me to write my second Grace Cassidy mystery, THE CORPSE WHO WALKED IN THE DOOR, was downright embarrassing. To avoid this with my third in the series, I researched storyboarding and plotting. Then I told anyone who would listen that I would block out each and every scene before I typed one word in my third Grace Cassidy mystery.
Well, I lied!
Sorry about that.
My intentions, as always, were pristine. (And, yes. I do know the name of the road that’s lined with good intentions. My mother explained all of that to me when I was 13.)
But in my own defense, is it my fault that the headlights of my brain only show me a tiny stretch of the road ahead? (You can blame God, if you like, since he created me. But first you should know that He and I have already agreed that He’s always going to be right, no matter how good of an argument I manage to offer.)
I began my storyboard for my 3rd Grace Cassidy mystery in good faith. I bought a bulletin board at Walmart for ten bucks, came home with my purchase and marked it into four sections with masking tape. Feeling very self-righteous and completely sure of my success in this project, I started making plot points on index cards, as I’d always done.
This grew old in a hurry. My fingers started to cramp. (I'm an old girl, after all.) Then it occurred to me that I could type much faster than I could write in longhand. So I finished my notes on Word. Then I changed the margins so I could cut each note into an index-card size. These I pinned to the board.
The first section was filled, when suddenly the characters sprang to life and started talking inside my head. The problem was, they said what they wanted to say, not what I had planned. And since I’m sort of a wishy-washy person, I didn’t argue with them, but just followed blindly. (For some weird reason there seems to be a sort of magic connection between my fingers and the story. I’d be a real bust at dictating).
I’m still convinced that storyboarding is the right way to go and might save me a year of rewrites. Therefore my storyboard for my 3rd Grace Cassidy mystery is still in progress. However, my method evolved. (Some writers work with files and some work with piles. I’m a pile person.) I now pin the plot progress on my board as I go. I’m a gal who must write as she goes. I start with a premise, knowing only who has murder in their hearts, and why and who they're ticked off with. The rest I learn as I write.
|2nd Grace Cassidy Mystery|
|1st Grace Cassidy Mystery|
I wish I could be a strict plotter, but it seems I can't. I have to write "by the seat of my pants."
Oh well, it worked for the pilots in the 1920's maybe it will work for me too.