Plotting Over Coffee: Weekend Coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d be compelled to tell you that I’m participating in Just Jot It January all month, and that I’m using the prompts, because I like the way other people’s ideas shake up and stir around all those ideas in my head, so that I never quite know what’s going to come out. It’s like sprinkling adventure into my mind, or playfulness…

I’d also be compelled to tell you that today’s prompt is the word compelled, which comes to us from willowdot21…why not pop over for a chat with her when you’re done here?

If we were having coffee, I’d meet you at the door, and tell you that this pot is fresh. I’d let you pick your weapon of choice (that’s your mug), and your ammunition. We’ve got coffee, of course, but also an eclectic selection of bag teas, the hot cocoa packets my daughter prefers, and sweet water from beneath the ground, drawn up from our well…you passed that when you came in, although you might not have noticed it, because you were probably as astounded by the green January grass on our snow-deprived front yard as I am. I’d be compelled to mention that I kind of wish, for the first time in my life, that I lived a couple of hundred miles further south on the Hudson River, so that my girl could fulfill her compulsion to play in the snow we’re not getting this year. Last winter was a banner year, and we were thrilled to have Oregon family to escape to for ten days…this season, I think they’ve had more snow there than we’ve had!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m feeling an urge to make this post (and this cuppa) a short one, because I’m compelled to write. At the very end of December, I learned about this short story contest, and the deadline is swiftly maybe just a bit too swiftly approaching. I had less than the glimmer of an idea on January 1. Today, with just over a week to go, I’m adding the musculature and beginnings of the circulatory and respiratory systems to the skeleton outline I finished in Saturday’s midmorning hours, before I finally admitted that I’m a corporeal being, and therefore sometimes compelled to sleep!

I’d be compelled to add that I’m excited – it’s so much more of a story than it was even several hours ago. I’ve got the first four scenes fleshed out, and next I will do the last four – leaving eight in the middle, as the bridge that binds it all together. I’m hoping to have a rough draft before I sleep again. (Update: It’s Sunday, nearly 5:30am as I’m typing this. Ten scenes are fleshed out, with six to go, and it’s much more a story, with subplots and insights popping left and right and reminding me why I love my open-ended plotting system so much!

If we were having coffee, I’d be compelled to show you how clean and decluttered the kitchen counters are getting – but I’d probably resist that temptation, since you didn’t see the shambelized version, and therefore would be less appreciative than I am at the emerging order in that formerly lost space. Maybe next week, it’ll be done, and I can share it…

If we were having coffee, I’d say that it’s just about time for me to go put another log on the fire, because, even though there’s no snow to speak of, it is cold. I’d make sure you were well bundled, and offer you a travel mug to take another cuppa with you, so you could keep your hands warm out there – and I’d show you the door. Because I like sharing coffee and conversation with you – but I’m a writer, and sometimes I need to listen to the people in my head who are clamoring for their stories to be told….it may be a compulsion, but it’s a happy one, for me.

If we were having coffee, I would remind you to check out the other Weekend Coffee Share posts at Part Time Monster. I hope to have more to say next week, by which time my completed gem of a story should be polished to a lovely lustre, and off to take its chances in the Big Wide World!

Until then, I leave you with my daughter’s tribute to what was the most magical moon of her eleven and a half years…

And, of course, I’d wish you all a week full of the very loveliest of chaos!



    • Thanks, Bee! I’ve got a draft, and I’ve revised it once. Of course, now that it’s with my critique group, I’ve got more ideas, but I’m taking the time away until they report in. Reading a lot of wonderful TnT fan fiction, home and life tending. I expect tomorrow and Saturday to be mostly devoted to revision and polishing, and Sunday will be about packaging….

      It’s exciting and very scary.

    • Aww, thanks, Linda!

      The kids were asking what I thought my chances were, and I told them I have no idea. It’s a national contest run by a major paper (the Chicago Tribune), and they haven’t placed a lot of limits on what can be submitted (it’s not genre-specific). I don’t know who judges it, or what will appeal.

      But i’m less interested in winning than in challenging myself to give birth to and raise a story I can submit competently, knowing I’ve done my best to make it the best version of itself I can.

      Any way I look at it, that’s a win, because I have the story, and I’m taking a chance in a committed way. I’m learning and growing in the process.

      Really, a no-lose scenario! =)

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