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.