Tuesday Turning Points

survived mondayAshlynn was teasing yesterday when she dis’ed my writing process. I’m proud to be a puzzler so there! 😛 As most of you know, I do a lot of flash fiction based on supplied writing prompts. Quite often, those exercises end up as scenes in my books. Sometimes I write the flash based on a book I’m not even working on. Yet. Because different prompts prompt different characters, situations, and events. If I don’t use a scene in a book at some point, I’ll most likely create a free read out of it.

So, what does this have to do with turning points you ask…

When I’m writing the Red Dirt books, because of Harlequin’s process, I turn in a synopsis. Usually–sometimes–the finished book mostly follows the series of events highlighted in said synopsis. As a result, I have turning points in the story. I won’t lecture on story structure here. Those of you who write should already understand it and those of you who read certainly enjoy it, right? 😉 As you know there are Very Important Things that should happen at the appropriate times in a romance. First meeting. First kiss. First obstacle/fight/breakup. Et cetera until we come to the black moment when the bottom falls out, the characters are devastated and there’s no hope. Then you get the fun of the characters overcoming the black moment, getting together, finding their HEA and riding off into the sunset all happy and stuff.

Well, along the way there are minor turning points–like forks in the road. Go right and you get roses or chocolate or a puppy. Go left and you get a splinter and spilled coffee and a cat spraying your favorite pair of boots. Well, Clay, the hero of RDR#3, has many of these forks, as does his heroine, Georgie. A scene I wrote last week was an eye-opener for Georgie, but Clay needed a big light bulb/turning point to get him to Georgie for her moment.

Sitting over dinner and grousing about politics, stupid people (yes, usually the same topic) and baseball pitchers (don’t ask! 😆 ), I mentioned that country folk tend to be plain spoken to the point of being blunt. They have lives to live and don’t have time for pussy-footing around, which brought up the phrase:

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

And MY light bulb flickered on. So I dashed to the keyboard after cleaning the kitchen, feeding the dogs, and watching one of my favorite baseball players (Matt Holliday of the Cardinals) get hurt, I wrote almost 700 words about one of Clay’s turning points leading up to Georgie’s revelation which starts them on their still rather rocky road to their HEA.

So…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Anybody had a turning point lately? :O


About Silver James

I like walks on the wild side and coffee. Lots of coffee. Warning: My Muse runs with scissors. Author of several award-winning series--Moonstruck, Nightriders MC, The Penumbra Papers, and Red Dirt Royalty (Harlequin Desire) & other books! Purveyor of magic, mystery, mayhem and romance. Lots and lots of romance.
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4 Responses to Tuesday Turning Points

  1. I figured Ashlynn was razzing you. ;o)

    Yay for lightbulbs! And turning points! And anything that adds tension or surprise or moves the story forward! Super yay for those 700 words! I can’t wait to read the next Red Dirt Royalty!

    Okay, enough with the exclamation points. I don’t know about turning points, but my story did tell me some things last night. Not quite sure what it all means yet. I’m early enough in the mystery, though, that not much is really turning. Setting things up, discovering bodies, figuring out identities and the personalities of the major players. I think I figured out last night why that poor girl had to die and the main thrust of the killer’s motivation, so it’s all good.

    • Silver James says:

      But each of those bodies IS a turning point. 😀 And knowing why the poor girl had to die will lead to a turning point in the book so dude! You are rocking it!!!!!

      See? I like exclamation points too. 😉

  2. Ashlynn says:

    Of course I’m razzing you…what else would I be doing?? 😛

    That said, I’m all for whatever works. What works for some, doesn’t work for others. I know you’re a puzzler. If I wrote like that, nothing would ever make sense. I learned a long time ago, there is no right or wrong way to write. And rules! I can’t stand rules!! (unless its grammar rules, and I let my editor tell me those)

    I attended a workshop by Deb Dixon, who is amazing, but I just couldn’t ‘get’ her process. When you talk about turning points and what-not, I know what you’re talking about, but I don’t plan my stories that way. I go by gut. I usually know when something is off, or something needs to be changed. But not by— x scene must happen at this point, and this one at that point—I guess I’m weird. Cause most writers I know use that process.

    I’m over here like…. oh, lets do this. And then how about this.

    Oh BTW- you’re right about get-to-the-point about country folks. Just spit it out already! Ha!

    And yay for light-bulb-moments!

    • Silver James says:

      You’re like me on a deeper level, Ash–an organic writer. I just tell the story and those “turning points” seem to appear naturally where they should in the story. I tried to follow Deb’s process and got bogged down (which is one reason I HATE having to present a synopsis!) but…yeah. Anyway,

      You might give William Bernhardt’s writing books a try. His STORY STRUCTURE is about the easiest (and makes the most sense) of any I’ve come across. Bill’s an Okie, a NYT best-selling mystery/thriller author and a super intelligent guy. And funny. He pushed me toward self-publishing SEASON OF THE WITCH when it kept getting stalled on editors’ desks, and he also helped me restructure the opening. His STORY STRUCTURE is just over 100 pages with the appendices and easy to follow. Which I needed! 🙄 He has a whole series of them available in e and print at Amazon. A thought anyway… 😀

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