Tuesday, June 26, 2012


When I was growing up, friends, school activities, and summer fun were all-important events. My daily goal was to be in on as many things as possible, because I couldn't stand "missing out on anything."
Mother never had trouble getting me up to go to school. Even if I was sick, I'd beg to go if I remotely felt like it. She always said of me, "She's always afraid she'll be left out and miss something."
True. Very true. To my sad consternation, I am still like this today--just not as much.

It's not all bad, though. Recently, I discovered that this deep desire is somewhat akin to keeping up with a plot. Our lives are a running plot, moving from one scene to the next, and if we "miss out on something," then we don't completely understand our next move.

 Before glasses were prescribed for me at age 12, I could not see the movie screen well enough to know exactly what was going on. Usually, I could make out the characters enough to follow the basic story--especially if dialogue was provided. But if the screen were dark for some reason--a storm, a nighttime scene--then I'd whisper to my mother, "What's happening?" When the credits ran, I could not read those at all, so she would read them to me.

It finally occurred to my parents that I was horribly near-sighted. With glasses, the ability to watch action changed my life. I could see the entire plot.
What does this have to do with writing?

Have you ever read a novel or story that seemed to have an incomplete plot? The scenes were fuzzy, indiscernible, and confusing. The story arc did not work. The plot made little sense.

It's just like reading without glasses--we're not getting the whole picture.
I'd like to say all my completed works make sense and the plots are clear as day--such as Steven King writes. That may be true for me, but perhaps not for every reader. Maybe a reader thinks the story is "missing something."

I recently finished reading the third novel in a series written by one of my favorite authors. The first two books were quite clear and very good. But the third one missed the mark and I haven't yet come to a conclusion as to the exact reason. All I say is that it was incomplete and confusing.

Characters are my strongest point. A plot that makes sense and is complete is the main part of writing that I work on the most.
"The story is the thing." And so, it follows, "the plot is the story."

Of all the novels and stories I've written, the one that has brought the most comments is Crystal Lake Reunion. Happily, all comments have been glowing. I am grateful for every word.

This novel is not a pure romance, even though it does contain a love story. The main character is a dead baby, because the tiny thing started the entire story. If not for her...no story. Dana Dawson, a young Houston realtor, has a lifelong connection to this infant, even though she knew nothing about it. Dana learns the truth about herself accidentally, and in the end, several lives change.

The plot for this story literally wrote itself. Unbelievable? Maybe, but I would wager most authors can say that about a special story they wrote.

Once the kernel of the beginning was planted, the story took off and I did not stop writing until it was finished. I think I wrote every day on the plot, something I can't say about any other story.
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Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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  1. You've just described the novel I'm trying to write at present - am on the 3rd draft but somehow it's still fuzzy, indiscernible and confusing! Maybe I need some new glasses?

  2. Celia, this was a great post, as always. You never disappoint, in your blogs or your books. As you know, Crystal Lake Reunion is my favorite and I think it fits the book title you mention as a "damned good story."

  3. ooops, misquote here. That was a "damn good novel." It still qualifies!

  4. I recently read a book by a very successful author, and it was going very well, page turner, etc. Then, it just stopped. What? Did I miss something? I asked a friend who had read the book and she said she had the same reaction. Great post, Celia.

  5. Paula--yes, some magie writing glasses! It's like we say--"I can't hear without my glasses." To me that makes sense...but it doesn't to anyone else.
    I, too, have a WIP that is a year old now, and if I begin thinking about it, it drives me crazy.

  6. Linda--thanks! That's funny, because when I added the caption to SK's photo, I wrote "Damn Good Story," and had to look it up to check if it should be story...or novel...which it is.

  7. Caroline--isn't that weird? You'd think an editor, or if self-pubbed, a Beta reader would catch that. I think often, with the big-name authors--the author and the editors become lackadaisical and just skim, thinking, oh, I know this will be good. Why am I wasting so much time?

  8. Good post. That's what of the most important thing in a book, the flow of the story.Each line leading to the next. Each chapter leading to the next...I resent books that start with a great hook and then turn into a completely different direction.

  9. Celia, as someone who also has a hearing problem as well as having to wear glasses, the 'I can't hear without my glasses' rings doubly true LOL.

  10. It is amazing how something can be right in front of your eyes and you miss it - even with glasses. I agree - life itself provides plenty of plot. :)

  11. Hi Celia,

    You always have such keen insights. I was delighted about the topic of your post, particularly when it comes to vision.

    I was late to get glasses, maybe about the same time as you. In a small town, I was lucky enough to sit next to my BFF who always shared with me what was on the board. We always had lousy grades in deportment too for all the whispering.

    Anyway, the day I got my first pair of glasses, I remember being astonished that there were individual leaves on trees. I stared and stared at trees on the way home. I thought they were blobs for the longest time.

    Crisp vision opened so many doors for me. I had another "moment" after I had corrective eye surgery. I could see so many things so well, I skittered throughout the house like a child with unbridled joy.

    Which brings us back to your point. Stories that aren't in focus aren't as satisfying. That clarity and definition is missing, and that's a killer for readers, who like to be looking out the POV character's eyes. They are suddenly forced to look out of eyes that need correction, and all the fun fizzles.

    Great post!!!


  12. Mona--and yes, there are too many out there. Very annoying to try to read what starts out promising, but falls flat.

  13. Paula--I had no idea you had a hearing problem. You're the fourth author I know who has this problem. Of course, I'd never know unless you told me.
    But really--I don't hear well without my glasses. My husband says I read lips...well, no, not really,but I do have a hard time understanding certain people. My own daughter talks so quiet and softly I have to ask her to repeat it. She probably thinks I have a problem...but no, I don't. But if I watch her mouth I can "hear" her better.

  14. MAGGIE--I was astounded by the different shapes of noses! We didn't have many trees in West Texas.
    I feel a little gripey about books these days--writers just aren't taking enough time, I fear, to create something worth reading.
    There are plenty of other who, I'm sure, would think those books were just fine.
    Thanks...and I deleted your repeated post.

  15. Great post, Celia. I was in 5th grade when I got my first pair of glasses - I'm also near-sighted. I couldn't see the blackboard. I remember, though, a big difference when I got my first contact lenses in my jr. year of H.S. and how clear everything was outside.

    I haven't read Crystal Lake Reunion but it's on my list - what you said about it makes me what to read it.

  16. Another great post, Celia. I am ramping up the next story of mine to be published. I love that I have learned enough about writing that I did discover a section where I could greatly improve the story and am fixing it right now. I was confused as to why I had written something - not good. I guess by leaving it alone for a while can make it easier to see the trees through the forest.

  17. Diane--I would have loved to wear contacts, but I make 0 tears. The opthamologist says my eyes are as dry as the Sahara. So, no contacts.
    Yes, in school, I always got the front row--until I got glasses, then I wanted to sit in the back, the preferred seat in classrooms.
    I hope you do read Crystal Lake Reunion--it's not my usual fare. My local readers have almost made me cry with the wonderful comments. On woman wants me to come visit so she can discuss the story. This is a first!

  18. Paisley--yes, if you let it "sit", then whatever is wrong might clear up. It's amazing how that will happen. And congratulations on your first release!