#navbar-iframe { display: none !important;} The Naked Page: That Up and Down Motion Thing

The Naked Page

Author Jamie Sobrato's Diary

11.15.2006

That Up and Down Motion Thing

No, not THAT up and down motion. Jeez, you people think about nothing but sex. Oh, wait, that's me. Um, er, anyway...that thing I mentioned a few posts ago is a simple idea my editor mentioned (I'm probably even remembering the term wrong, but "up and down motion" is what stuck in my head) that can help to keep in mind when you're writing scenes.

The idea is that at the start of a scene, if things are going well for your protagonist, then by the end of the scene it all should be going to shit. And then, if you start out the next scene with things going badly, by the end of the scene there should be some sense of improvement, hope, and/or a problem resolved on the way to the overall plot resolution. And so on. This could be either in the internal conflict, or the external, or both.

Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, and there is no such thing as a hard and fast rule, and sometimes the best stories throw all the rules in the garbage. But it is a good tool to keep in mind if you find your story feeling flat, dull, not going anywhere, or whatever.

And now, since your eyes seem to glaze over when I start talking about anything remotely useful, I will also point out that I dedicated my April 07 book, Sex As a Second Language, to you Naked Page People. In it, the heroine is a blogger, and her blog posts along with comments from the readers of her blog appear at the start of each chapter. So don't say I never gave you anything.

Am I the only person on earth not participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? I even saw a piece (which I now cannot find) about it on the NPR website. I think that officially makes it a very mainstream kinda thing, yes? And am I the only person who thinks "NaNoWriMo" is the most annoying name on earth?

23 Comments:

At 7:22 PM, Anonymous melissa said...

I'm not participating, because I had ten million (okay, four) other books to get out the door this month. I dream of completing a rough draft in a mere month, but it never happens, no matter how many times I try. Oh well. And the name wasn't so annoying until back in October, when people started using it in every sentence...but still, I like the idea. Motivation is good. Finishing books, even better.

The blog book sounds great (love the title). So do both interpretations of "up and down motion". But that's probably because I've been spending more time with the computer than the man...

Cindy, did you say doggy? Is that a peek into *your* NaNoWriMo? ;-)

 
At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

I'm participating in NaNo, but illegally, because I already had three chapters written and critiqued and polished when I started, and that's against NaNo law. But that's the way I write! I'm finding I can jump from scene to scene and write a crappy first draft *with* benefit of the polished first three chapters, but so far I can't do it without. So I won't validate my word count or anything. I'm just addicted to the rising bar graph word count counter they use for the honor system. Plus, only one person in my buddy group is ahead of me in production, so it keeps me going.

Melissa, there is no doggy (yet...) in my NaNo novel, but I think there might be in my next novella for Red Sage! This is why I come to Jamie's blog - the inspiration.

Jamie, I think you should do an RWA workshop on writing/production tips centered around erotic-sounding ideas like this Up and Down Motion one. I think it's great, and I'm going to keep it in mind when I get to the real writing of my NaNo book - the rewriting. :)

Cindy

 
At 2:11 PM, Anonymous bethany said...

I'm not doing Nano- I wrote handcuffs in 6 weeks, then it seems like I revised for 6 months. My next book I'm going to take more time with so I have to revise less. Plus I'm revising my adult book right now, in the hopes that my agent might like it, or actually that she might not read it and decide that I'm crazy/perverted/weird. Or if she does think that, she can sell the book so others might know that I am crazy/perverted/weird.

 
At 11:55 PM, Blogger SQT said...

The idea of the whole NaNoWriMo kind of annoys me. I don't know why. I'll get to it in my own time thank you very much!

Actually, I'm just not motivated enough right now and it feels too much like joining a club to motivate me. Maybe I'm just obstinate.

 
At 7:25 PM, Blogger sonya said...

nice blog

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks Melissa! Did I not respond to an email from you a while back? My email inbox looks like I died, and I'm afraid to even look at all the things I still need to reply to.

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Cindy, down here south of the border we call it "doggy style." That's what you're talking about, right? Haven't we exported enough rap music yet for the whole world to know that? Is dropping the word "style" a Canadianism, or a Cindyism? ;-)

 
At 9:23 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Bethany, since when did crazy, perverted, and weird become qualities to be ashamed of?

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

SQT, how's that fantasy novel coming along?

 
At 10:22 AM, Anonymous melissa said...

Jamie, you answered my last email, and I haven't crowded your box with any others. No worries. :-)

Yeah, I know it as doggy style, too, but I think Cindy threw out the short version trying to be cool. Which she is, of course! lol

 
At 2:37 PM, Blogger SQT said...

>SQT, how's that fantasy novel coming along?

I'm spending way too much time blogging. I started a fantasy/sci-fi blog and I'm having way too much fun with that.

One of the people who comes to my blog gives me writing challenges though, so it's good. I think I may focus on short stories for the time being since that would be more managable for me right now.

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Hate to tell y'all... okay so i don't, but that's aside the point...

I'm a proud NaNoWriMo-ite... and heading for 40,000 words at that! :-D Right now today's writing is a tad problematic. I'm explaining (if only to myself) the relation between a couple characters and getting the heroine to where she begins her pursuit of the hero. Yes, because of how the characters' lives are, that is correct wording. And yes, I do have a validated word count and yes I started a couple days early and no I don't care! :-D! But I'll be DAMNED if I'm not getting finished novel number one out of this! :-D!

I haven't really been paying attention to the press on it though. :-) As for NPR, their reporting only makes for bad (political) fiction half the time anyway. :-) (But i still listen to it for a good laugh or groan anyway.)

And yes, James... I agree with you... Nanowrimo is the most annoying name on earth, but it serves its porpoise. It's going NOTHING like the writing for The Vindicta short story I emailed you went. :-S :-D

 
At 7:38 PM, Blogger Karen Erickson said...

I started NaNo but I gave up. I had too many other things going on and frankly, I was sick of it. Oh well...

I did it last year and managed 50k in one month but that piece of crap still sits on my hard drive.

Love your blog. ;)

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks Karen!

I too once wrote a book really fast just because of a writing challenge (in a month or so..I think it was the third book I ever wrote) and was never able to do anything with it partly because it was written so fast. But I still think there is value in the process of having written it. I learned some stuff about what not to do, and I think I got some bad writing out of my system. :-)

Interestingly enough, now that I have more experience, I CAN write fast and produce something that doesn't suck.

 
At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Cindy Procter-King said...

Cindy threw out the short version because she types too fast and forgot "style." Maybe she has none.

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

A ha! A typo!

You most certainly have style, Cindy. :-)

 
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