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Laura Pauling | Category Archive | Plotting a novel
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Saving Mr. Banks – for readers and writers.

It’s been a while since I cried in a movie. If I’d been alone, I would’ve broken down and sobbed. As it was, I could barely breathe through my nose, and tears were continually leaking from my eyes again and again. I can’t even talk to my husband about it without my voice wavering.

I didn’t know P.L. Travers’ story. Somehow I knew she had been difficult to work with and that it took a while for her to agree to the movie, but I didn’t know everything else.

I didn’t know her story and how it was reflected in Mary Poppins.

I didn’t realize that Mr. Banks represented her father and that Mary Poppins was someone in her life that swooped in to save her family.

I didn’t know how much effort Walt Disney put into this movie and how a part of Mr. Banks reflected his life too. Gosh, talk about subtext and multiple meanings in a movie title.

I didn’t know how much heart and soul she put into the story of Mary Poppins.

But don’t most authors do that? It might not represent their life story so exactly but pieces of us are laced in our stories, possibly to the point that no one would know upon reading. Watching the movie I felt so many different emotions. I laughed. I felt empathy. I connected with another author who laid herself bare. No wonder she had a hard time letting someone else make a movie of what was essentially her life and her pain.

There’s not enough room without outlining the whole movie to explain all the facets that made this show so moving. You’ll have to watch it. Maybe you won’t cry because your life has been different than mine. Or maybe you will.

Here’s a fantastic article that calls Saving Mr. Banks a masterclass for authors.

If you’d like, share the last book or movie that touched your heart, mind and soul.

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Indie Life – Choosing the right premise.

Welcome to Indie Life a monthly post where Indie authors share good news, milestones, and/or tips about living the Indie Life.

 

I pressed publish on book 3, Twist of Fate, yesterday with a feeling of bitter sweetness after spending more than two years with the characters, but I loved having the opportunity to finish a series. I learned so much about writing and perseverance and the ups and downs of publishing through finishing Circle of Spies. I loved how the last book wrapped up, so I can send the series off with well wishes and lots of happiness.

This past fall it was time to start something new. It’s not coming up with an idea that is the problem for me. It’s deciding which one has the balance of something I’d love to read, something I’d love to write, and does the premise have the potential for more than one book.

I went through ten outlines for ten different novels before deciding on the title and story for my new work. It’s very exciting writing new characters and discovering their problems and turmoil in their lives.

How do you balance your brand and choosing a premise for your next story? Or do you feel with the Indie Life you can write whatever you want?

Please head back to the Indelibles blog to visit the rest of the Indie Life posts!

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Trilogies and cliffhangers…and some book news!

Trilogies and cliffhangers…and some book news!

Before self publishing offered authors a chance to strike out on their own, I always wrote books with the thought that it could be a series or a trilogy. I jotted potential storylines or subplots in notebooks that could continue in other books, some thread from the previous story that could be explored.

Personally, I don’t care for cliffhangers that end the story in the middle of a climax. In fact, sometimes, it annoys me so much that I don’t keep reading book 2 or book 3. I like each book to be a complete story. The kind of cliffhanger I don’t mind is the one where the story is wrapped up, but some new element or question or shocking reveal is introduced, one that keeps me thinking about the book until the next one is published, or at least one I remember when the next book is published.

How do you like your endings and cliffhangers?

On that note, Vanishing Point, A Circle of Spies novella has been published. This is an adult novella, revealing the secret past of Marisa Bent, Savvy’s mom.

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Lies can be deadly.

Before Paris, before Greece, Marisa Bent was nothing but a bored housewife, willing to do anything to protect her family. When she learns that espionage runs in her blood line and that a family of assassins are her archenemy, she’s willing to do anything to protect her husband and daughter and keep them in the dark. She even follows Will, the young, arrogant assassin, into the heart of trouble.

Using a mother’s instinct, she becomes the hero. More than once. This only seems to prove to Will that she is indeed a spy, bent on ruining his family’s enterprise. In the defining moment of her life, she must make the biggest sacrifice a mother can make.

Finally, the untold story of Savvy’s mother. Learn why she disappeared from Savvy’s life and the sordid details of her past with Malcolm’s family. 

***

And, to finish off the series, Twist of Fate ( book 3) will be out in October. Add to Goodreads.

 

Thanks everyone! Tell me your good news!

 

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Writing tips from The Music Man.

Every summer I watch the shows in our local theater and every time I walk away understanding why these stories have lasted over time and why people still flock to theaters to see them and why new generations get hooked on them.

1. Every scene moves the story forward.

There are no sagging plot lines. No dull moments. No snippets of scenes that don’t play into the main plotline. When the scene changes, the reader isn’t confused thinking: where did this come from? Or what does this have to do with the story?

The scene progression is logical.

2. All the micro-tension and subplots tie into the main plot.

I love all the subplots in this musical. Harold Hill’s wooing of the librarian is key to reaching his goal of swindling the town of their money for a boy’s band. It’s not just romance thrown in for the sake of romance.

Tommy’s forbidden relationship with the Mayor’s daughter and how that evolves plays into Harold’s hands as he creates a boy’s band.

Marion’s younger brother and his failure to talk since his father’s death plays a key role in Marion choosing to overlook Harold Hill’s lies because Harold is the one who gets the boy talking. That wins her heart over, which helps Harold deceive the people.

Every subplot and secondary relationship connects to the main storyline.

3. Likeable character.

Even though Harold Hill is a swindler, we can’t help but fall in love with his character. He’s clever and compassionate. Yes, he’s a cheat, but deep down, he’s a good guy and goes out of his way to help people even if it helps him too.

As a reader, we see all the small ways he turns people’s lives around and we end up rooting for him.

Create an empathetic character the reader can root for.

4. When it comes to romance, pit the lovers against each other.

Harold wanted to swindle the town. Marion was the one person who could stop him.

***

This movie is filled with gems like the ones I mentioned but it’s filled with great examples of comedic relief, great writing, emotional arc and climax…

No wonder writers turn to script books and movies for help with writing.

On that note, I have family in town for the next couple weeks. When I return, it will be full speed ahead to the release of my YA psychological thriller, HEIST. I have blog posts, photo teasers, and a sneak peek at the opening.

See you then!

Each summer I post about my theater experiences. See what I learned from Trapped and Guys and Dolls.

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Story structure of a heist movie in 15 sentences.

I walked up to Redbox simultaneously rubbing my hands with glee but also doubtful because we haven’t had much luck in the movie department. One of the first movies I noticed was Man on A Ledge. At first, I thought it sounded really dumb but…as soon as I saw the words diamond heist I didn’t need to read anymore.

Of course I won’t mention that I left the movie in the shopping cart in the parking lot and had to return and then pay for it again. Nope, not going to mention that at all!

So, if you couldn’t tell, I love, love, love heist movies and I love studying them. #plotnerd #savethecat. So here goes.

 

Opening Image:

Nick Cassidy eats his last meal in a hotel (alone), wipes down all his fingerprints, writes the suicide note, and then climbs out the window and onto the ledge.

Theme-stated:

For me, it’s hard to pick out the moment they reveal the theme because I’m watching the movie and taking notes, but the strong theme of looking beyond the facts to find the truth is very apparent.

Set-up:

During a flashback, we learn Nick might have been unfairly imprisoned, he’s an ex-cop, and he escaped while attending his father’s funeral.

Catalyst:

During the flashback we learn Nick’s appeal had been overturned and he’d be in jail for 25 years.

Debate:

Tricky in a heist movie because there is usually not a huge character arc but I’d say his debate occurred when he was denied the appeal. Obviously, he chose to do something about it and escape!

Break into Two:

Nick Cassidy says he won’t talk to anyone but Detective Mercer, so Act II starts for me when she shows up at the window to talk Nick out of jumping.

B Story:

The subtle romance between Nick and Mercer as she tries to do her job and he plays her and stalls for time.

Fun and Games:

Joey Cassidy, Nick’s brother, and his girlfriend break into a nearby building to steal a diamond while Nick draws all the media attention.

Midpoint:

Due to a news helicopter, Nick is recognized, and we learn he was previously in jail for already stealing the diamond.

Bad Guys Close In:

We see David Englander, the owner of the diamond, talk with dirty cops to “take care” of Nick.

All is Lost:

Nick reveals to Mercer that he’s been communicating with his brother through an earpiece, and Joey states that the diamond is not in the vault. (They were counting on it to prove Nick’s innocence.)

Dark Night of the Soul:

Per the usual heist movie or book there is not a huge character arc, nor a dark night of the soul.

Break into Three:

The tactical team arrives from helicopter and the chase begins when Nick breaks back into the building.

Finale:

Nick resteals the diamond and proves his innocence. This simple sentence doesn’t begin to show the amazing climax. (We learn the man who owned the diamond had previously framed Nick to recover financially from the insurance money from the supposed theft of the same diamond.)

Final Image:

At the start he was eating alone and now he’s in a bar with Mercer, his brother and girlfriend, and his Dad. Yes, a nice twist at the end and it’s confirmed that this elaborate heist was planned and a success!

Overall, I really enjoyed this heist movie especially because the motivations behind it were personal with Nick’s freedom on the line. And I learned that Man on a Ledge is a cop term for a potential suicide.

And I loved seeing the similarities between this break down and the break down of Heist Society by Ally Carter.

Do you like heist movies? Any good ones? If not, what do you like to watch?

 

 

 

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