Plotting…(gulp). Do I have to? WWYD???

Happy Friday, Mermaids and Friends! The lagoon apparently succumbed to a sudden infestation of pond scum last night and needed some attention. Once that got cleaned up, the gates were opened and the Mermaids returned to the pool! *throws glitter

One of my big problems with writing is keeping up momentum. I get a nice head of steam up, craft a great first chapter, a pretty good second, and then… yeah, you know the story. Then I give up. Plotting is NOT my strong point.

Since I’m struggling with plot, I’ll throw out a snip of my third chapter. For me writing the middle is always the struggle: for Lake Effect I have a beginning and an end, but no middle. If these were your characters, what would you do with them?

“Do you have any idea where your father’s valuables could be? And what about your mother’s?” Sam set his scraper down and crossed to face her, his height imposing.

“This is Lake Isaac. It’s safe.” But even as Nicole said the words, doubt niggled in her mind. The lake had certainly been safe when she was growing up. But what about now?

What did she really know about Lake Isaac anymore?

Sam’s next words confirmed her doubt. “Do yourself a favor: go to the bank, rent a safety-deposit box, then come back and start looking for things that need to be in it. Jewelry, cash, silverware. Important papers, the deed to the house.” He hesitated. “You father’s will.”

The thought drove pain through her chest, and she felt the tightness in her throat. “I don’t know if he has one.”

“Look through his desk.” Sam’s voice was kinder as he sensed her dismay. “He may have a deposit box already. Or a safe.” He snapped his fingers. “That’s more like Gerald: a safe. I can just see him hiding his stuff around the house.”

Nicole agreed. “’Never trust anyone who says you can trust them,’” she quoted. “What color are you painting the door?”


She threw her hands up. Men! “That doesn’t tell me anything,” she objected. “There are hundreds of greens, Norman.”

“Norman? Rockwell.” Sam nodded. “Good name. I like it. Thanks.”

“Don’t change the subject! What color green did you choose?”

He twisted to look at her over his shoulder. “Why do you care? You aren’t going to live here.”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for the house! I grew up here, and I want –“ she stopped.

“What?” Sam turned now to look her fully in the eyes. “What do you want, Nicole? Your stated goal is to be done with the house. You have a life out there that doesn’t include this house, this town, or any of its residents.” His lips pressed together for a moment. “Not your father. Not anyone.”

“I –“

“You want to be done? Be done.” He returned the scraper to the toolbox and retrieved a sanding block. “Don’t worry about us.”

She stood there, her arms filled with old newspapers. The others in the stack, relieved of their top-level brick, cascaded to the floor. The cat leapt from the railing outside and vanished.

Nicole has come back to town to get rid of her personal ghosts, her ties to Lake Isaacs, and the house she grew up in. What would you have her do next? Obviously, one thing on her list (though she doesn’t know it yet) is to fall in love with Sam. Stumped? Me, too.

About Susan Jeffery

I am loving the challenge (sometimes) of re-entering the contemporary romance market after a lifetime of raising two fantastic children (it never ends, btw). Just when I thought I was done with kids, I accepted a position as librarian to 900 boys in a Bronx private school. I'm a vintage published author, Harlequin American #206 Fair Game (1987). Winner of the Golden Heart, 1986. Currently exploring the possibility of indie publishing under my new pseudonym (see fresh name, above).

13 thoughts on “Plotting…(gulp). Do I have to? WWYD???

  1. O!M!G! And whoa! Your plot is SO much better than the trip-to-wimpville I had envisioned! And you are right, Nicole is NOT the true daughter of her father. In fact, there are letters from her mother that she has refused to open for YEARS. Or is that too passive-aggressive? Yeah… I could have her find the stash of letters that her so-called father never gave her… (just like I saw a photo of my father’s first wife, almost 70 years after it was taken, just last month – talk about a blast from the past!)

  2. I would have something catch fire, Susan. Or perhaps…does someone need a kidney donated? Because that’s my go-to plot twist. (Note: it never works.) Alas, it’s all I’ve got. I don’t think there’s an easy way to plot. And if there is, and people have been holding out on me…oh, I’m coming for them. Yessir.

  3. You’re exactly right, Kristan. We need to have someone with a failing kidney. They can be hidden in the wall with the letters from her mama.

  4. Susan,
    I guess there can’t be a secret baby hidden in the walls. That would be weird. But apparently secret babies are all the rage. LOL.
    I love the idea of the dad not being the dad. I definitely think she should jump Sam. That’s a given. And soon. Very, very soon.
    I do like me my kissy bits. 🙂
    I disagree with Kristan for the first time ever. That’s probably why I can’t recall a kidney situation in any of her books. It didn’t work for her either…LOL.
    Although a fire seems kinda neat. Not the whole house because that makes me just a tad too nervous. Do you have a barn??? At the lake? Or maybe a detached garage? I like the idea of arson. Who? Why??? And maybe the arsonist is interrupted by Sam. Right before the kissy bits…because I do like me my kissy bits…

    1. I’m working on it! And the secret baby is in the next book, where she is a single mom who falls in love with the father’s brother. And then the brother comes back to town.

      Yes, I’ve played with a fire starting in the house. Although I don’t know much about fires. Aside from nearly setting the house on fire when I was 8…

  5. Diana! You just wrote yourself a book! Put all those elements in 250 pages and you’re down with it. Better, set the Nazis in Regency England in a futuristic paranormal, where she busts through the wall, looking for the gold dubloons that were smuggled from (France?) and puts her hands on a Luger. That’s works. Right??? And he-man-hero is an escaped American POW. Very Saving Private Ryan…

  6. Go with Diana’s suggestions in her first post (at 18:01). The rest of you are nuts. Funny, but nuts! :&)

    I’ve been told that I do know how to write a sex scene, if you need any help. Not here, though. There are some things I don’t do in public. Oh wait, they go in a book…hmmm, I guess that’s not exactly private, huh?

    Loved your excerpt – the characters grabbed me and I want to read the rest, with or without the middle.

  7. I was ready to share some ideas but there’s a bunch of good brainstorming going on here. Really good idea Susan to share your story and ask for feedback. Very brave too. I do like a many of the ideas-kidney business aside:)- but I’m sure you have taken what worked for u and also got some new ideas so success! I love brainstorming! WWM should do this again.

  8. Oh. My. Gosh. I had too much fun reading through this post and all the responses and yes, it’s all nutty and fabulous. I think you have lots to consider, fishy sister. If it were a beach house, I’d say add in some sharks but since it’s a lake, how about some snakes or things that go bump in the night?

  9. Whatever plot you pick, they all sound good to me as a non writer person who just likes to read others’ plots! I do hope she stays in her childhood home, I drive by mine every chance I get, I wonder if my dad left any secret papers hidden within it’s walls ….

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