While Denny battles demons of his own and Cookie and Clancy disappear, a pregnant Fina Fitzgibbons investigates the death of her friend’s husband and in doing so lands in the middle of a group of art and drug traffickers.
Plot Pivots: Hanging Up Laundry
For me, plotting is like hanging up a large load of laundry.
Picture it, a beautiful day in June. The air is fresh, the breeze is flappy, and you’ve got three loads of wash to do. But just your luck, the drier’s not working. So get a rope and two poles.
• Tie one end of the rope to the house.
• Tie the other end to that maple over there near the fence.
• Prop up the rope—the storyline—with two poles.
• Best to prop the rope at about the two-thirds point—roughly, the golden mean.
• Place the second pole somewhere after the three-quarter mark, part three of the story, the beginning of the climax leading to the end.
That way you can hang all the light laundry on the long length of rope, scenes that introduce characters or develop core conflict and character and move the story in short strokes. Clamp the heavier stuff to the smaller lengths toward the end of the rope.
Before I start to plot, I know my characters inside and out, or at least I think I do. I also know the beginning, the end, and the two plot pivots—all subject to change of course. I jot in the bones of these five scenes intermingled with some character sketches, perhaps the arcs of the most important players, and pretty soon, the story is writing itself.
And when I read fiction, whether it’s a short story or novella or novel, I always look for these two pivotal plot points. I stare at them, read them slowly, re-read them, because it’s around these two points that the story blossoms, and meaning clings to them like barnacles on a ship.
About the Author
Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a member of Sisters in Crime, a graduate of Marquette University, and a life member of The Art Students League of New York. She has taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes.
TOO QUIET IN BROOKLYN, the first in the Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn mystery series published December 2013. The second book in the series,MISSING BRANDY, published September 2014, and WHISKEY’S GONE published in January 2015 and completes a trilogy. The fourth book in Fina’s series, THE BROOKLYN DROP, published August 2015.
DEATH OF A SERPENT, the first in the Serafina Florio series, published January 2012. It began as a painting of the Lower East Side, the landmark immigrant neighborhood in Manhattan, and wound up as a mystery story set in nineteenth-century Sicily. NO MORE BROTHERS, a novella, published May 2012, the second in the series. The third book, DEATH IN BAGHERIA, published in December, followed by MURDER ON THE RUE CASSETTE in January 2014.
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