Monday, June 9, 2008

Travel Ready

Several months ago now, my husband and I asked our youngest daughter what she wanted for her college graduation gift from us. She answered without hesitation, "I want to take a trip back to Korea!"
You see, we adopted Courtney from South Korea as an infant, and our family served as missionaries in Korea from the time Courtney was three until she was eight years old, but she's not been back since then. So, we closed our eyes at the sight of the ticket prices and booked our flight reservations a couple of months ago. Now, the day of departure is upon us. We leave later this week.
The preparation panic has struck us all full-force. Each of the three of us has a To Do list a mile long. We've learned from experience, the key to a successful trip lies in thorough advanced planning and anticipating unforeseen challenges. I've called the banks, confirmed flights, checked weather reports for Seoul, made extensive packing lists. . .and paid a last-minute visit to the dentist. (As unpleasant as a trip to the dentist may be, I'm certainly glad I was able to see my own dentist rather than endure the drill as a stranger in a strange land--and dentist chair.)
We've put a lot of advance thought and planning into this Korea trip, and I fully expect it to pay off when we reach the Land of the Morning Calm.
David and I took another trip this past weekend. We awoke early Saturday morning with the urge to get on our motorcycle and just go wherever the road took us. No planning. No preparation. Yet, we had a delightful ride through the scenic Ohio River valley.
Sometimes a writer needs to put a lot of research, time, and effort into plotting her story. Sometimes she needs to just let her novel journey carry her along. In the Writer World, we distinguish the two as Plotters versus Seat-of-the-Pants Authors. Which are you? Have you ever tried your hand at the other?
I will be away the next two Mondays, but I PLAN to return with lots of fun stories to share. As they say in Korea, "Tasi Manapshida!" See you again soon!


NancyMehl said...

Great blessings on your trip, my friend. We'll miss you, but it sounds like this will be a very worthwhile and exciting venture.

And lists? I'm an expert at them! Not sure if I could get through the day without some kind of list. LOL!


Martha W. Rogers said...

What a wonderful opportunity for all of you. May God protect your travels and keep you healthy and safe.

I'm a combination sotp and planner. I like to know where I'm going on the journey but enjoy the off roads my characters take me on as I write. And without lists, I'd be up the proverbial creek without a paddle.


Janet Spaeth said...

I think I just figured something out: a list is a synopsis, at least for me.

The older I get, the more detail I need in each. My lists have every little teeny tiny thing I have to do on them or else I *will* forget. A synopsis? I usually have a section at the end of notes, reminding me what parts of the story need defined continuity work, etc.

I wish I could be a SOTP but I just can't. I always worked off a synopsis before, but Tracie made me a detailed planner and I'm very grateful for that.

Susan, have a wonderful trip!

CHickey said...

Have a safe and glorious trip!

Mary Connealy said...

Land of the Morning Calm.
I like that.

I have found out I can do both styles of writing.
Plotting and ??? Panting?

I have always been a SOTP writer but needing those chapter by chapter synopsis for HP has forced me to really plot those books out in advance and I actually have liked the end product, if not the process. Having the story laid out doesn't lock me in that much to the details and I still feel a lot of freedom. Who says I have to take the INTERSTATE, I can wind around on back roads, pull over and linger, or hit the road at top speed the most direct route. But I do know where I'm going and that's been a good thing.

Pam Hillman said...

I used to think I was a SOTP. I'd plot a bit, write some, re-plot, and write a little more in a stop and go method. This process took forever and my scenes stalled out a lot. I'd end up staring at a blank screen because I was undecided about where to go next....

Recently, I've been plotting with a lot more depth, and when I sit down to write, the words flow much better.

Wow, Susan! Enjoy your trip to Korea. It sounds like a wonderful adventure.

Pam Hillman said...

I wonder if there is a correlation between list makers and plotters?

I'm a compulsive list maker, especially when things get really hectic. Maybe I'm really more of a plotter, but just now realized how much I DO need to plot.

If you're a SOTP writer, do you also tend to accomplish a lot of other goals (like grocery shopping, Christmas details, vacations, etc.) without lists?

Or if you are a detailed plotter, are lists in other areas of your life a mile long?

Just curious.

Mary Connealy said...

I make lists out of sheer desperation, Pam. I have a true glitch in my memory.
If I was a kid today I swear they'd slap my in special ed.

Instead, left to my own devices, I've learned to online calendar that sends me reminder updates on EVERYTHING saves the day.

Carrie Turansky said...

Dear Susan,

Have a wonderful trip! My God guide you each step of the way, and may you make many wonderful memories together!


Myra Johnson said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip, Susan!

I must admit I'm probably 80-90% SOTP. I need the general background for my characters and some idea of the central problem and eventual solution, but I find if I try to plot out the scenes in too much detail, I make myself crazy. I actually enjoy the process of discovery as I live out the story page by page.

On the other hand, I rely heavily on my calendar and to-do lists. But often I'll write a grocery list and then barely look at it again. The act of writing it down is usually enough. But, um, not always. Especially as I get older. ;>)

Cecelia Dowdy said...

I'm a plotter, for the most part. When I begin a story, I have a rough outline about what I'm going to write. There may be certain elements in the story that aren't mentioned in my original outline, because I'll think of things to add as I write the story. But, bascially, I'm a plotter.

Darlene Franklin said...

Have a wonderful time, Susan! What a wonderful idea.

I suspect most of us Barbour authors are plotters (thanks to that chapter-by-chapter requirement). I don't understand how SOTP write a 90K novel without a synopsis! But many do, successfully.

To me, the SOTP comes in the actual writing. I may know "the studio burns down in this chapter" or "Audie reveals his secret." That's the central plot point of the chapter, but it needs a whole lot of support. I know my characters and the plot and let the story tell itself.

Speaking of lists: I have a list sitting on my computer this morning. "Call Barbour. Laundry. Post office."

'Nuff said.