I admit, I feel a little…

I admit, I feel a little bit weird that I'm going to miss the kids on Mothers' Day. Kevin's present to me is taking the kids for four days so that I can go visit my college roommate Kirsten in Seattle, combined with meeting up with Jed to attend an all-day plotting workshop taught by John Crowley through Clarion West. I'll leave around noon today, and come back v. late on Sunday, so the kids will be fast asleep by then. I talked to them about it, and they don't seem to mind that I'm missing Mother's Day; we'll just celebrate a day late. So I think it's fine. But it did feel strange saying goodbye to them this morning!

All that said, I'm really excited to go. Kirsten and I don't get to spend nearly enough time together, and she's had a rough year, so I'm glad I can go hang with her for a bit. I can't actually help her with any of the rough stuff, and we talk on the phone often, and you'd think that it wouldn't make that much difference to actually be there, but somehow, I think it does. A little in-person contact goes a long way. And of course, lovely to see Jed, and we'll spend some time Saturday with some of his good friends, which is great, and I love Crowley's work, so the workshop should be great.

I'm about to start a new novel, so this is really the perfect time to take a plotting workshop. Mostly my plotting has been more of the figure-it-out-as-you-go-along variety, but I'm hoping thinking about it a bit more strategically will be helpful. Lit fic people can sometimes be a bit snooty about plotting, but I think they're just wrong. Plot is important. Keep the reader turning pages is critical. All the beautifully crafted sentences in the world won't get you anywhere if there's no urgency to the story. So that's my mission for Sunday -- study plot. Should be good!

And if you can't attend the workshop, which I'm guessing most of you can't, I recommend Nancy Kress's essay in Paragons, "One Damn Thing After Another," along with her companion illustrative story, "The Price of Oranges."

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