ROW80 – Round 4 – Check-in #14

It’s time to update you on my ROW80 progress. You can find a list of my goals here.

Work In Progress Goals:

  • 5.5 hours on WIP (goal: 5 hours/week)
    • Wrote and flushed out the story idea hubby and I toyed around with
    • Applied James Scott Bell’s LOCK and 3-Structure to the story idea
    • Read Chapter 3 and went through the “who are you” questions
  • Had a great email chat with my ROW80 Sista, Nancy J. Nicholson.
  • I reported on my ROW80 goals (although Sunday’s is a day late)

I had a great weekend of writing at the camp. I played around with the new story idea hubby and I came up with. I had a lot of fun with it and got some of the major plot points outlined.

Then I read Chapter 3 of James Scott Bell’s book. Grrrr – why isn’t this the first chapter? Chapter 1 deals with the LOCK method and how to apply it to your story idea. Chapter 2 is about 3-act structure and again how to apply it to your story idea.

And then Chapter 3 is about how to come up with great story ideas. Huh? I mean, fantastic chapter and I really enjoyed it but why wasn’t it first? I was confused because we’ve already been applying exercises TO a story idea so!?!? A bit odd but anyway….the chapter talked about writing “who you are” (not what you know), writing your passion, and about how to test your ideas to see if they are strong enough for a novel. Mr. Bell says that since we are going to spend 6 months, a year, or 5 years with our novel it better be a story we want to tell and are passionate about. True that!

The chapter made me rethink my above idea. Although fun, fresh and quirky, it’s not my passion and it’s not exactly who I am. I think I could write a great story but I don’t want to just write something because I’d be good at it. I want to write something that I am passionate about. A story I am DYING to tell. A story I feel compelled to tell.

This week I’ll be using his story idea methods to come with two ideas (I actually already have one brewing that I think is more in line with who I am and my passion) so I am excited. Stay tuned.

Blogging Goals:

  • Blogged 5 days (5 posts)
  • Read, commented, retweeted/tweeted on over 25 blogs.

How is your ROW80 progress going thus far?



  1. Natalie, you are a fireball, girl! Awesome progress on your WIP, blogging and commenting, plus studying the craft- wow! Did I say you amaze me each week! Where do you get all this energy and fabulousness?

    How could we NOT agree with Mr. Bell? The stories we write must come straight from the heart. Without a real passion a story does not come to life.

    Good luck this week. I can’t wait for you to actually finish your novel and share it with the world!

    • Awwwwwwwwww…thankyou Angela!! Your comments rock my world and always make me feel inspired and fired up! I love it. Your encouragement and vote of confidence means the world to me.
      I agree, Mr. Bell is dead on and I am super pumped for some of the ideas he made me think to.
      I can’t wait to unleash it on the world as well, even though it’ll likely be a few years at the rate I am going. LOL!

  2. Aww, sorry chapter 3 kind of threw you for a loop! But hey, now you know what you didn’t know before, right? So it’s all good.

    I am always so inspired by these posts. You’re really making it work and I love watching your progress. Even on weeks when you think you don’t have any, you really do!

    Keep up the awesome and amazing work and definitely write what you’re passionate about! Trust me on this, somewhere along the line you’re going to HATE what you’re writing and if you aren’t passionate about it, well it might get shelved. Don’t worry, though. You’ll fall back in love with your novel again super fast. It’s just a phase. Let’s call it the teenage years of the novel, shall we? ; )

    • LOVE that – the teenager years of the novel! 🙂
      Tameri – you are freaking AWESOME and uberliciously fabulous! I love your comments and like I was saying to Angela, you guys are the BEST. I read your comments and feel so pumped up and inspired because yes, some weeks I definitely feel like I accomplish so little…and y’all make me feel so good about it anyway. I love it! It’s just what I need to stay fired up and rockin’ out!
      Yes, I found it odd that the book didn’t start with Chapter 3 but whatever. You are right, as long as I learn it and I am super pumped to use some of his techniques this week to really play around with a bunch of ideas.
      HUGS and thank you again for the fantastic words!!!

  3. Yay you! I may have to dig out my James Scott Bell book and re-read. Totally agree with writing your passion but I gotta agree w/ Tameri, too, that, no matter what, there will come a time when you are not in love anymore, in fact every little thing your WIP does is strating to annoy you…and is it BREATHING through it’s mouth?
    …Yeah. Break time, just a tiny one — soon the siren will call you back and everything will be pure genius once more. I wish I had the focus you do to actually do the questions etc.

    • OMG I love that! Thank you Amy. Honestly, I look forward to getting there because I know it’ll be a milestone moment. A tough one but one none the less and I can’t wait! I am sick, I know. LOL!
      You see how anal I am…lol…everytime I think about skipping the exercises, I remind myself that they are there for a reason and will only help me learn the concepts more indepth so…I stop and do them.
      Thank you so much for the encouragement and support Amy, I so appreciate it.

  4. Oh yeah … all good comments for our fireball Natalie. Right on Angela with that description! Use all the advice to try and find your voice but don’t feel you have to follow it to the letter. Tameri is right that you will have a love/hate relationship with your WIP depending upon how it’s going. So who’s to say what’s exactly right … I dunno … as Stephen King says in “On Writing:A Memoir Of The Craft” (and this is a must read too!). If you know you have a story to tell, sit down and write it and everything will begin to unfold. You’ll love it and hate it and love it some more and it will be the most awesome experience. Put it away for a month or two when you feel it’s finished and then god back and “kill your darlings”. It’s a process… the good, the bad, and the ugly is all part of the journey to the amazing day you actually hold the finished product in your hands. Write on!

    • LOVE that Patricia – thank you! I am definitely going to pick up the book. It sounds like a must-read!
      GREAT advice and encouragement. I’m going to take it straight to the heart!
      I can’t wait to start on the journey to my love/hate relationship with the novel. LOL!!!

  5. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Great week Natalie, Sounds like your really onto something and I wouldn’t scrap the idea you started, you never know when it might morph into something else a year or two from now that does hit your passion. Something tells me it won’t take you five years to complete your novel. Have a great US Turkey Day! I think we’ll be at sea, but we’re taking the bird with us. 😉

    • Thanks so much Nancy! Absolutely, I am keeping all my work and brainstorming in a folder because you never know?!?!?
      Happy US Thanksgiving as well – hope you guys have a wonderful one at sea!! 🙂
      Travel safe!! 🙂

  6. I recently read Bell’s book as well. It’s one of those I think I could easily reread and get more out of it a second time. I’m applying what I’ve learned as well to already finished stories, but since I like the stories that’s good. Best wishes with your ideas!

  7. there comes a time in all passionate relationships when the sight of dirty socks on the floor and the wrongly squeezed toothpast tube really getsto you – but if the foundation was there then all will be forgiven and the thought of the love rekindled bring sparkles back! hark at the old lady here:) – go for it girl write in your passion and all the best for coming week

  8. So glad to hear you had a productive week! I know it’s been crazy for you lately. And good for you on digging into Bell’s book. Just remember to find what works for you:)

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