Some of the Best Things Begin with 'PL'

Personal Note: It's almost inevitable I'll "steal" st least one article of my husband's clothing during the day. He's not thrilled with it, but as long as I stay away from his most beloved sweatshirts or whatever he doesn't complain too loudly*. I usually keep it to a tee shirt or his socks, but I sometimes steal his belt (YAY! for "wiry" men!), and I pretty much steal his old Vaan's EVERY DAY because I don't want to dig out my ballet slipper Skechers to pick up the boys from school.

He hates that most of all. Hee.

Some people call it 'planning'. Evil people and book people (not a mutally exclusive or inclusive couple of species) call it plotting. Either way, it means thinking ahead. Two things have brought these things to the forefront of my thoughts (besides, you know, writing a novel).

First, the amazingly upbeat, gracious, and intuitive Jodi Meadows has written a post about the need for authors to challenge characters. If you're writing a book, or think you might one day want to take a crack at writing one, I HIGHLY advise you get over there and bookmark that post. Jodi tackles the 'lesson' in such a way that both visual and practical thinkers alike will be able to take away something valuable from it. I'd describe the post in more detail, but it's better if you just go over there and see for yourself.

Secondly, this morning I was a little off my game getting boys to school, and my brain was assimilating info in weird orders. For one thing, I have my young nephew A. today, and it's been a while since I've had a four-year-old. He falls into that gap between my own three boys, so I was kind of at a loss about what to do with him for a while. I knew the novelty of A's presence would make the boys scatterbrained, too. So, I was rushing around, trying to think ahead.

Turns out I didn't need to try so hard. After A, Ben, and I got back from taking older boys to school, I grabbed my glasses, a bowl of cereal, and pair of socks, and planned to put them all to good use. I reached to put on my glasses, thinking clearly to myself, "I am putting on my glasses, now", but I didn't put on my glasses. some back part of my brain somewhere informed the voluntary action part of my brain, "Hey, wait a minute. We need control of the girl for just a second for maintenance reasons" and that back part instructed my hand to rub my eyes and my nose, and wipe my face. My brain was already thinking ahead. Instead of putting on my glasses only to have to take them back off again, my brain knew the better order was "Rub, rub, wipe, THEN put on glasses". My brain 'overrode' me.

What does this mean about plotting? Is it a cautionary tale against trying too hard? Do we instinctively know all the who's, what's, what's, when's, and why's of storytelling, but we're so focused on 'getting it perfect' we forget we know them. I think sometimes we need to put all our 'parts' in front of ourselves and just take a deep breath. The big picture might come into better focus.

*Also, I think it helps I explained a big part of this clothing theft involves me feeling closer to him while he's at work . . . except the shoes, of course. That's just pure laziness on my part. *wink*


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