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Ella Carey Talks About Plotting & Creativity, Giveaway!

Please help welcome Australian debut author Ella Carey. And she's got a kindle copy giveaway of her debut release THE PARIS TIME CAPSULE to one commentater.

Ella on the web:



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 The Paris Time Capsule



Over to Ella now...
I used to think that plotting before writing a novel was the antithesis of creativity. Years ago, I wrote several novels without doing any planning at all, other than having a story idea with which to start.


 


There was a novel written from the perspectives of several women, all in the first person writing in their own voices … a novel that had a vague storyline about a woman who went back to her home-town after years away, and several others. All of these never saw the light of day beyond my own trusted laptop.


 


I adored the process of writing, and, in many ways, working this way was a wonderful way to learn. I have to add here that I know many writers who don’t plan at all, and they write wonderful novels. But, for me, there came a point when I stopped dreading the word ‘plot,’ and replaced it, instead, with ‘story’.


 


Now, I write as if I am creating a film script.


 


Once I have chosen what I feel is the strongest story idea out of all the ideas that are tumbling in my head, I try to write a blurb, then a synopsis. Does the story work on paper? Is it compelling enough to draw anyone in? This is important, as no matter how attached I am to a concept, if I can’t turn it into a full blown, dramatic event, then it’s not any good.


 


Now … to turning this skeleton into a fully-fledged, well constructed, unpredictable story. Difficult? Yes! But if you can get yourself into the zone - you know how it is, just like when you are writing a first draft, ideas falling onto the page like lollipops dropping out of one of those old fashioned machines - then you are blending writing with story planning, you are creating, and you are away.


 


So the best way I know to do this is to brainstorm scenes.  While I am doing all my character and setting research and design, I play the story out in my head and write down what happens in each scene, line by line. Each scene is labelled. I keep everything in order. But this is not a short process. I find I am refining, cutting, (there is so much cutting) until I have every scene the best I possibly can … it is only then that I am ready to write the first draft.


 


Now, as I am writing, of course, the story is still organic. I make changes, pull out scenes and play with them until I think they are much better as I write. But I have an outline, a home base – a story.


 


I have an entire file of deleted scenes from ‘The Paris Time Capsule.’ I was cutting scenes right until the moment I had to finish it. I ripped out a third of it a month before it was due! You are working like an artisan, constantly shaping, refining … and killing your most treasured darlings.


 


So, let’s return to the idea of creativity and story: I find that working from the inside out, is the most creative way that I know of crafting a story.


 

How do you craft your novels? Or how would you craft them if you wanted to write?


 


Inspired by the true story of an apartment in Paris that was abandoned for seventy years. The owner fled Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion in 1940 … but why did she never return? 
New York photographer Cat Jordan has fought hard to free herself from the past, but when a stranger dies, Cat finds herself the sole inheritor of a treasure filled apartment in Paris that has been locked up and abandoned for seventy years. A stash of love letters belonging to Marthe de Florian, one of the Belle Époque’s most famous demimondaines, and the appearance of the mysterious Isabelle de Florian’s grandson leads Cat in search of the reasons why Isabelle kept her Paris apartment a secret, and why she left her entire estate to Cat. As Cat unravels the story, she too begins her own journey, realizing that the secrets in the apartment may finally unfasten the future.

Praise for Ella Carey:

"Ella Carey creates an almost impossibly romantic atmosphere."Rachel Edwards, Review of Australian Fiction.

I am so looking forward to the release of The Paris Time-Capsule. Ella Carey is one of the most talented writers I have ever worked with. Roll on release day!' Melanie Milburne, USA Today best selling author

For more information please visit www.theparistimecapsule.com 

Read Reviews 


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    Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey

The Paris Time Capsule

by Ella Carey

Giveaway ends April 30, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

39 comments:

  1. Congrats, Ella! That's a great way to think about story rather than calling it plot, even though I am a plotter. I mull on the idea and get to the point where I'm ready to write down what scenes I do know and then fill in the blanks. Of course, things can definitely change, even toward the final edit.

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  2. Hi Cherie! Yes, I think mulling on the idea is so important, just refining it until you have something that should work makes such a difference, and I agree about those blanks! xx

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  3. It's always nice to meet someone else who loves to write. :) Congrats, Ella! Wishing you all the best.

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    1. Thanks Karen! I love chatting with other writers too. x

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  4. I've always wished I were able to plot more, but I find myself "pantsing" it more often than not. I enjoy the organic nature of it I guess, though I imagine there would be a whole lot less trouble when it comes to my revisions :)

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    1. Yes ... It's so personal. I find that if I can get into that real creative zone, where you feel like you are almost floating along, while planning the story, then that helps enormously. I think the word plotting can sound like dots on a graph! :)

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  5. I'm a pantser primarily, but am learning to plot. Still I love the way the story evolves through imagination no matter how careful the plan.

    Wonderful story you've written, Ella.

    Denise

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    1. Exactly, Denise, being rigid about what you have planned in your story would be rather like trying to plan out one's life, don't you think? Lovely to see you here today! :))) I am absolutely thrilled that you enjoyed 'The Paris Time Capsule!'

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  6. I've come to realize that my first draft is really a very long outline. Great cover!

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    1. That's an interesting way of looking at it, I like that! So pleased you like the cover. I will let the designer know, as I have had so many lovely comments. I love the fact that his name is Giovanni, just like Boldini, the artist who painted Marthe de Florian in the novel. :)

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  7. Ella, I completely agree with all your steps and do my best to accomplish them. Sometimes it just seems like I'm holding the tail of a wild bull. There's a big gap between knowing what's necessary and doing it well. Great post! :)

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    1. Hi Lexa, what a great analogy! Don't you love it when the bull is swinging you around the ring and you know exactly who's winning too! Thanks for posting. x

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  8. I am a plotter, if not I just sort of ramble. I guess my brain does better with structure. Best of luck Ella. It looks like a good book!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I know what you mean ... and I still cut, cut, cut my ramblings, even with structure in place!

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  9. I have to plan everything out. Once I get a story idea I normally always know how I want it to begin and end. Then I consider the rest of the story and methodically map out everything to link the beginning to the end. It helps me to focus and it's fun to check off events once I write them. :)

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  10. Hi Chrys, thanks for joining the chat! That sounds great. I think it takes a while to work out a method of composition with writing. So interesting to talk amongst writers and share thoughts. Thank you! x

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  11. For me, every story is different. I plan over twenty pages of notes for some. Others I have a fully synopsis for and then dive in. And for one book, I wrote the ending so I had a clear goal and then went back and pants the rest of it. I think you have to find what works for each story.

    I enjoyed hearing your process, Ella.

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    1. That's an interesting way of looking at things, Kelly, sounds great and thank you for sharing your thoughts here.

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  12. I don't plot. I know I should...I'm just one of those "pantser" types! I usually end up getting about halfway through and having to plan...and I often write crazy notes to myself to remind myself where I'm going next...

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    1. Hi Stephanie, I know a fabulous writer who doesn't plan at all; she just writes and then does a little edit, and that's it ... all with much success!

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  13. I don't outline ahead of time. I do spend a lot of time thinking about it, does that count? Lol.
    This story sounds interesting! Best of luck!

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    1. Thanks Rachel! I absolutely believe that thinking time is writing time. If I haven't had time to write on certain days, I try to spend some time in the world of the novel. Often I find I've accomplished quite a bit just thinking about it.

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  14. Writing from the first person perspective of several women? That would take some crazy focus.

    I'm the type who imagines a story for months to years before putting pen to paper. I always start with a sound understanding of the characters, their backgrounds, motives and world, and then create an outline with major plot points, opening and closing scenes, and whatever incidentals along the way. From there it's a free write with power editing.

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    1. Hi Crystal! Yes, I too find that it is a joy writing the first draft once I have completed my background work. Thanks for commenting! x

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  15. I'm definitely a plotter. But I don't work out all the details. I have a general plan for each chapter. Sometimes I follow the plan exactly. Other times I find an interesting twist to add.

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    1. Hi Sherry, that's an interesting way to work too. I love that you let the twists evolve during the writing of the draft. Thank you!

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  16. Your process sounds really similar to mine, Ella :) Thanks for sharing it! I'm a plotter, too, definitely!

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  17. Hi Liz, thanks for calling in, interesting that we both work in a similar way! x

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  18. I love history and this Paris-based story sounds fascinating. If I don't win a copy, I plan to buy it!

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  19. Thank you Helena! I'm so pleased. Honestly, it was just a pleasure writing a novel set in Paris. xxx

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  20. I went from no outline, to loose outline, to chapter by chapter outline.

    The Paris Time Capsule looks fascinating.

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  21. Hi there Medeia! Ha! I like your comment. Thank you for your kind words :)

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  22. Thanks for sharing that, Ella. At the end of the day, it's all about one ten per cent inspiration and ninety per cent hard work.

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  23. Hi Maria, yes, that is true. Inspiration weaves its way through the work, breathing life into the novel, while you constantly shape and refine at every stage in the process. Thanks for calling in! x

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  24. I can't wait to read Ella's book- it is already on my list. :) So wonderful to read about her creative process. I like to plot out the basics of my book and get to know my characters before writing. Sometimes things change while the story unfolds- but I have the main points mapped out and follow them.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

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  25. Hi Jess! Thanks so much and I do hope you enjoy the novel! Your process sounds great - good to leave some space for changes too. xx

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  26. I alternate between plotting and pantsing, but when I have even a rough outline, I find the drafting process much less frustrating at times -- if a little less-inspired.

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  27. Congratulations to Elizabeth Seckman and Rachel Shieffelbein! You won the giveaway of The Paris Time Capsule! Please shoot me email at nas_dean@ymail.com

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  28. Hi Ella, love the post, thank you. It must have been very hard to find scenes to delete. Fab story, thank you!

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Join the discussion. What do you think?