Friday, May 29, 2009


Lest you think this post has anything to do with Picasso, let me disabuse you of that notion right away. This post has nothing to do with Picasso—well, actually it does, but in a random sort of way. In case you don’t know what Cubism is…it’s kind of complicated, but it’s a way of showing many perspectives in one painting. For example, showing all the sides of someone’s nose when in reality you’d only see one side of the nose. (I have to admit, one side is good enough for me.)

At any rate, I’m currently working on a new book, and I reached a place where I knew where the plot needed to go, but I wasn’t sure how to get there. It’s like knowing that Montana is north and west of here, but without the interstate numbers and directions it’s a bit of a chore to get there. In fact, you might never get there. Or, it may take years. And let’s face it, I’m getting older.

I needed a solution. A Picasso-esque solution. Frequently, the way to solve a problem, ignoring for the moment a long soak in the bathtub with candles lit, is to look at the situation from a different perspective. Enter Picasso—you see, those art history classes in college do help later on in life. (My kids think I took them just to torture them in the museums we drag them to every time we travel). Back to Picasso.

No. I did not paint a picture of my book. I don’t pick up a paintbrush—I leave that to Calvin who does an amazing job. (Though he does think I can draw beautifully.) At any rate, I needed to look at my novel from a different perspective. Step-sheets. They are sheets of paper (big surprise there) with everything of importance to the plot. They include things the readers know and the things they do not. I put all the plot points on the paper in landscape orientation so that I can see all the threads of the story fabric intertwining. Guess what? Yep. I saw some of what I wanted/needed to do.

Here’s a picture of me with some of my step-sheets. Yes, they are on yellow paper—it makes it more fun. I think Pablo would approve.


  1. Wow!! What organization!! And on YELLOW paper!! Wow!!

    Anyway, why are you writing ANOTHER book when your first one hasn't even been accepted by an editor yet? .... Or has it?

  2. Andrew, she's written 5 books. This will be her sixth. Hardly ever does the first book an author wrote get published! It can take anywhere from three to ten books to actually get one published... or even more!

  3. Gee. I never knew. Even though my mother is a writer herself... I sure am ignorant... Heh heh.