So, last month I went to plot group. My plot group’s been meeting twice a year for more than ten years. Susan Mallery, Christine Rimmer, Teresa Southwick and I have worked together well, obviously, for a long time! This time was different though. We had a new member, Kate Carlisle. And hey, now Kate’s published too! Coincidence? I wonder…
But the point of this blog is to say that even after writing and selling and publishing nearly a hundred books, I’ve still got plenty to learn. Plot group lets you brainstorm with other writers. Writing is a solitary profession. And usually, that’s one of the biggest reasons why I like it so much. It’s not necessary to play well with others. But plot group is something different.
For three days, we plot like crazy. We laugh like loons, we come up with off the wall ideas, plot points, turning points, character traits, bad moments, escalating ways to torture our people and titles that will never see the light of day. We turn ourselves loose, cutting off the inner critic who’s always warning us not to push the envelope too far. For those few days, anything is possible. There is no such thing as a bad idea and you can say whatever’s on your mind.
I’m not saying all the ideas we played with will survive. As a matter of fact, one of my ideas didn’t exactly thrill my editor, so I’ll be coming up with something else for her. But that idea she doesn’t want will be stored away to maybe find life again somewhere else. I really do like that hero!
As writers we’re always looking for the next great book. The idea that will wow editors, amaze marketing and thrill readers to the point that we land on the NYT list within two days of publication! The sad truth is, that no matter who you are or how many books you’ve published, there’s always rejection to be considered. No matter how brilliant we think we are, not every idea is golden. Not every book should be written.
So we keep going. We keep typing. Because persistence is the key in this business. Never surrender. Never give up. Never go away. Keep writing, because at the bottom of it, that’s all a writer can really do.
Maureen Child is hard at work on her next Desire for Silhouette and in between pages, is still taking breaks to do the happy dance for her good friend Kate Carlisle! Congrats again on your 3 book sale to NAL, Kate!