Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Order of Events in Story - LoRee Peery

Lagniappe Welcomes...

Guest Blogger

LoRee Peery

Please welcome LoRee to Lagniappe. She gives wonderful writing tidbits on:

The Order of Events in Story

Writing, like our Christian walk, involves a lifetime of learning. 

I continually find things to change, eliminate, or improve upon. Each project teaches me something about my own writing, often my little oopsies. For some crazy reason, I’ve discovered I have a pet word, or several, that I use over and over in a story and I have to edit those out before submission.

I call my first draft polished prewriting. Order, or effect before cause, is one of the idiosyncratic writing issues I can still find when I take a second look (or fifth, seventh, or tenth look!). And I can’t thank my critique partners or editors enough for pointing out to me those places where events were out of order.

A few days back I sat down with my current WIP before me. I did what I often do in order to get into a scene for that day’s writing session, I looked back a couple paragraphs. 

This is what I found:

“He spoke softly, offering a half smile. She forced herself to look at him.”

Oops! I wrote her reaction before his preceding action. 

She had to be looking at him in order to see his smile.
In other words, something has to happen to render a response from a character. A writer needs to build on a previous event. How can I keep a reader in the emotion of a character if I slow things down by telling how my heroine “realized” something? I need to show it. (The old infamous, show, don’t tell.)

And it happened again the next day. I opened up my WIP, scrolled up, and read:

“She stepped aside when the afternoon receptionist came to the desk…”

Good grief, the receptionist had to come to the desk before my heroine could step aside.

It is prewriting, but I remind myself often now to again think about order. Putting actions in order should be simple but can still trip me up. 
Yep. I’m still learning.

Something happens. A character reacts. 

For a writer’s words to be effective, they must pull the reader in as events evolve. It’s easy to explain events. But for a character’s emotion to pull in the reader, the writer needs to touch emotion in the reader by drawing the reader in.

Any time I find that I’ve used the words after, when, or before, my inner red flag waves and I discover I have something to fix in my story. Those are some of my watch words when I edit completed drafts. But like many words, there are times they do work.

Out of order events kick the reader out of the character’s perception of what is happening in the story. And our stories are meant to keep on coming, as long as we write for our King.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer,” —Psalm 19:14.

Thank you, Marian, for allowing me to visit your little spot here today. I love the word Lagniappe.

And thanks to all readers, everywhere.

The Frivolities Series is one of those God-things that just evolved. What a journey it was, because I sure never set out to write a series. Other than suspense, reunion stories are one of my favorites. I wrote of Moselle and Eric’s reunion in Moselle’s Insurance. At the end of their story, I didn’t really want to leave the kooky shop the women had established. In fact, a friend said she wanted to stay in Frivolities…. Fellow writers and critiquers commented along the way how much they enjoyed the secondary characters portrayed as Moselle’s mother and aunt. And one writer friend really liked the hero’s ex-wife.
I tucked those remarks away and still get tingly when I think how God worked it all out.

Moselle’s Insurance ~~ Frivolities is established
Creative artist Moselle Carson runs into firefighter Eric Todd and their former love returns to the forefront of their minds. Can Eric forgive himself and keep the secret that may redeem him in her eyes?
Rainn on My Parade ~~ The heroine, Geneva, is Moselle’s mother
Younger man Rainn Harris falls for Geneva Carson when she falls into his arms from a tree. As tension threatens to pull them apart, will they learn to rely on the Lord to direct their future?
Sage and Sweetgrass ~~ The heroine, Lanae, is Geneva’s sister
Survivor Lanae Petersen finds a moving love letter in an antique and seeks to discover the writer. Sage Diamond is holding on to the memory of his deceased wife. The last thing he needs is a tenacious woman who threatens to uncover his family secret.
Found in the Woods ~~ The heroine, Beth, is Eric’s ex-wife
Beth Phillips returns to Platteville to find purpose to her life. Aiden Holt, Nebraska Game and Parks, reluctantly follows up on reported wolf sightings along the Platte River. He encounters spunky Beth at the hurt end of a two-by-four. What is she so afraid of?
Lezlie’s Lifeline ~~ a dollar download ~~ Lezlie is Sage’s daughter
An accusation reunites Lezlie Diamond and Jordan Marshall – will a secret keep them apart?

LoRee Peery is the author of the Frivolities Series. An avid reader, one day she slapped a story in her lap and said, “I could write better than this.” Was that a lofty assumption or a nudge regarding God’s plans? Her dear hubby said, “Why don’t you?” And thus, her writing journey began.

I John 5:4 has a special place in her heart, for she believes she is an overcomer as well as victorious. "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith."
She and her husband reside on an acreage in Nebraska. 

They have a blended family of five children and eleven grandchildren.

LoRee, thanks for stopping by!

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe.

I pray that you find "a little something extra" in each of your days.



LoRee Peery said...

Thank you for letting me spout on your little blog spot, Marian.

Tanya Hanson said...

These are terrific reminders, LoRee, about the little things that can become big things! Loved the post. xox Howdy, Marian!

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...

LoRee, It's been a pleasure to have you here at Lagniappe. Your post rings true to all writers. When the words flow we have to be careful to put them in the correct order. Thanks for the reminder!

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...


Thanks for visiting LoRee here at Lagniappe!

LoRee Peery said...

Hey Tanya, thanks for your time.