WIP-Day 3

Today I asked Pippa to tell me more about herself, since she’s been  trying to steal the show. I figured she just wanted attention, but I was in for a surprise. She gave me a first chapter. A tentative first chapter, but wow.
When I want to know a character better, I have her write an “autobiography” of sorts. I channel her thoughts and feelings onto a piece of paper, and I always learn more than I bargained for. In the process, I also get that character’s voice. So Pippa told me all kinds of information about her family and herself. (can you tell I’m struggling to not give things away? I really don’t want to, because I never know what I’ll keep and what I’ll toss out, and I don’t want you to be as confused as I am by the time the book comes out!). Anyhow, Pippa and I had a great morning. I was distressed, though because I wasn’t sure what the climax of the book would be. Plus I realized it was becoming a very internal story without much action.
Over dinner, John helped me brainstorm an important plot point. I didn’t like his ideas and he didn’t like mine. This is typical Diane/John brainstorming. LOL. I knew, though, that neither of us was on the mark.
Then I went to choir practice. It’s always good to get away from writing for awhile. Time away fills the creative well. It truly does. Driving home I was humming one of our songs while listening to a talk show on NPR. Two people were talking about very different life experiences, and suddenly I knew what the plot point was. Well, not exactly, but I knew the direction I needed to go with it. And even more suddenly, I saw the climax. Oh, my. Talk about action!
Now who knows if this will all come together in the end, but I’m excited by the ideas I had today and I have more confidence that Pippa will be, if not always a reliable guide, an intriguing one.
I also have a working title: LOVING ANDY. I’m 99.9 percent certain that will not be the final title, but it’s nice to have something to call the folder on my desktop.


  1. brenda on August 17, 2006 at 8:05 am

    I am on my way to more Continuing Ed now…I learn more about writing (sometimes) reading this BLOG than I do elsewhere…my main emphasis-if I go to the middle school this year-will be writing/grammar/etc…that is something I always combine with my literature in high school in the block classes…this is going to be a big change for me…
    Thank you for sharing the workings of your novel as you go…I carry a little handheld microphone with me-it plugs into my laptop when I get home-helps me remember things for school and column (plus I have to interview people for a class I have this fall in grad school)…
    Funny-people look at me as if I am talking to myself while driving–well I am…especially on the longer trips to visit my son or daughter…
    Sounds like you are coming along with this one…you amaze me…Soon I have to get up earlier and go to school-come home and grade papers or study for comps, do grad work-won’t get my D.C. BLOG fix….:)

  2. Margo on August 17, 2006 at 9:11 am

    Diane, I really like these names Pippa and Andy…it sounds right this morning and your working title is REALLY GOOD!!…Brenda, I’m going to miss you!!…I really enjoy your comments and hope you’ll be able to ‘chime in’ more than once a week…take care…(-:

  3. brenda on August 17, 2006 at 7:59 pm

    I am assuming (or perhaps read in one of your BLOGS) that Andy is a special needs child who has no chance of actually growing into an adult…I don’t know if it is physical, emotional, or other…I do know that I am intrigued with Andy already, so when you change his name, I will go through withdrawal. However, I am not Happy with PIPPA (Don’t you love me???There goes my teacher mode again…) Why? Because as an English teacher, I think of Pippa as a name in British culture and Andy in American…Let’s face it, in England he would be ANDREW…so there it goes…I love being able to write you-knowing that you know ten times more than I do about writing and a million times more about your story…
    Do you know how to catch us? Of course-this BLOG is hooking us…

  4. brenda on August 17, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    Was looking for lesson plans on the web…found an article about you, DC, and your Christmas parties…when we have time-I will write about our situation…one one side so good…on the other not…That was an intriguing article, and I liked the picture with you and your ex and your present. 🙂
    I have enjoyed sitting between my ex and my present at parties for the grandchildren, dance recitals, church, etc…when we all meet in Indy.
    My friends from high school that new my ex and I as a couple for 30 years thought it was “sweet” that I sat between them at the funeral of one of my best friends and when I spoke, they said, both men had tears in their eyes…more later. Have to study.
    You are quite a person…

  5. diane on August 17, 2006 at 11:30 pm

    It took me a while to figure out what you were talking about Brenda. I think it’s the article in the Washington Post from a few Christmases ago. The article was on divorced families who still got along. I have an unbelievably complex extended family, and there are definite tensions in some quarters, but either I’m not part of them or I am simply blissfully ignorant.
    And Andy should be able to grow up (if I let him –heheheh). He has Fetal Alchol Effects–not as severe as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
    Very interesting about Pippa! I think perhaps I’ll make her Daddy a Brit.

  6. Lorene on August 18, 2006 at 8:33 am

    Brenda and All, I ran across this site in one of the reading groups a few years ago and think it’s really neat. I think the creator of the site was a member but not sure. You might want to share it with your students. I keep it on my favorites list.

  7. Diane Chamberlain on August 19, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    Lorene, that is a very cool site. Thanks for sharing.

  8. brenda on August 19, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    Pippa’s dad a Brit-that sounds great.
    Happy news about Andy…your book will have a great message to many.
    Lorene-thanks for the site…love it.
    Yes-Diane, that was the article, and ONE DAY, I am going to write a book about blended families…

Leave a Comment