Encore Episode: Just Blow Something Up

Can I take a moment to plug our retreat with the #AmWriting podcast ladies? Its called the Find Your Book, Find Your Mojo retreat. It was KJ’s idea, really, so we should give her the credit. But I’ve been working hard on all the details to make it an unforgettable weekend of friendship and writing and laughter. Our dearest hope is that you’ll come with your writing buddy or your writing group and learn how you can use Jennie’s Two-Tier Outline to help you move your writing forward. The Two-Tier can be used at any point. Really. Any point. (I should know, I refer to and rewrite mine all the time.) It’s small and powerful and social, and we will show you how to use it by yourself and with your writing group to help each other move forward.

I’m bringing my friends. Join us and bring yours!

You can find out more details HERE.

We are gearing up for Season TWO of Mom Writes. It’s all about REVISION! And to kick things off, Jennie is going to give a webinar about the Stoplight Method. It’s part of her revision process, and it helps you identify how best to use your time when tackling your revision.

If you would like to sign up for the webinar, you can do so HERE.

Show notes for the encore episode 59: Just Blow Something Up

[NSFK—the end of this episode is Not Suitable for Kids. Abby swears and we don’t edit it out, plus we mention dildos about 16 times, so put on your headphones as we enter chit chat territory at the end!]

Both Mel and Abby are sick. But Mel wins. She has the flu and shows up anyway because she is convinced that part of her self-care is talking about her edits. She tried extra hard this week to make up for her “bad edits” last time.

Jennie’s comments last time were along the lines of “but nothing is happening in the story.” So Mel’s solution was to go back and blow something up.

Jennie points out how dangerous it is to “blow stuff up” in a story. You can very easily make it about plot and not story. Mel’s story is about life and death and the choices we make around life and death. Mel’s writing played into that, so it works. But Jennie cautions writers not to just randomly include epic events in their stories if they don’t serve a purpose in the overarching WHY. If your motivation is “I just gotta make something happen” then that’s bad.

There needs to be a logic to every single action a character makes.  It has to be logical in the universe of the story, and it has to be logical to who that character is. (Would that character actually do that? Why would they do that? And is it clear to the audience why they would do that?)

Mel beat herself up over her previous edits, but we talk about writers’ high standards for themselves. Why do writers think it has to be perfect the first time they write something? Mel points out that first-time writers hold themselves to that standard of perfection because they have been raised on a million wonderful books in their final form and have yet to develop an appreciation for the iterative process of writing.

Jennie says no one is immune from this, and that the people who are willing to put themselves in the vulnerable place of sharing their work are the people who end up doing good work. There are so many skills you have to master when writing a novel—SO MANY!  So go easy on yourself when you make mistakes. 

Besides having the flu, Mel also lost her work when Word crashes and she lost four pages. It could have been worse, but she had really liked those pages! Jennie shares a secret, and she calls it “device agnostic.” She talks about how everything she does lives in Dropbox.  

We end by talking about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. We all have funny stories that revolve around hoarding childhood treasures.

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