Posted by: lizricewrites | April 10, 2014

Permission to Work From the Inside Out

I stayed in a cabin at Boyds Mills – for an UnWorkshop – a chance to be on my own with room to create. My plan was to go there and type like crazy, word sprinting though a first draft of the novel, TS. Only stopping to walk to The Barn for meals.

Inside a cabin at Boyds Mills [not mine].

inside a cabin

The Barn at Boyds Mills

inside the BARN

I had a plot done – in a narrative chapter by chapter. . . this-happens-and-then-that-happens format.

I created a Scrivener project folder for the novel and had set up folders for the chapters and Corkboarded a few Scene/ Sequel cards to get started on, when I needed to ‘focus’ in on each chapter as scenes and sequels.
I also brought books from the library that I could use for research and maybe inspiration.

And as a last minute thought – I packed some blank journals.

What happened instead of typing like crazy from what I had ‘plotted,’ is that I had a few breakthroughs about the characters. . .

One afternoon I took a journal and decided it would be the MC’s [Michael] journal. And instead of using it for character sketches, as I had in the past with other novels, I decided I would use it to ask Michael about his life.
I wrote the first question – “Tell me about your brother.” My hand moved like hands placed on a Ouija board – with information about Michael and his brother and even more importantly= about their parents. I hadn’t ever really mentioned or thought about their parents!

Just then, elated that the journal and question started a flood of narrative from Michael= the character, I gave myself permission to slow down and get to know them & the plot better. . . This time from the inside out.

Michael’s journal—-

Believe in Yourself journal


  1. love, love this! Send more pictures!!!

    • Thanks Diane
      I’ll post photos each blog and probably many from my stays at the cabins 😉

  2. A cabin in the woods… I suspect if I lived closer to these workshops (and had the means) I’d be there often, either working or unworking.

  3. Great post, Liz!
    P.S. I stayed in cabin 13!!!!! Freaky, huh?

    • Thanks Val!

      How did you like your workshop?

      And yeah that is freaky = same cabin a few days later. I liked the cabin= except for that shelf by the coffeemaker/ desk. I hit it twice with my head.

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