**DISCLAIMER: This is totally and completely a "Don't try this at home" story.**
My parents built our house themselves. Literally. (They used ropes and pulleys when erecting the walls to make up for the lack of hands.) It took a full two years to get finished enough that we could move in. Okay, maybe it wasn't entirely by themselves. I remember seeing a lot of pictures of the four-year-old me, and my two-year-old and six-year-old brothers helping to nail down plywood on the floors, pick up scraps, sweep, and give other INVALUABLE help.
We each stuck a big stick into the fire and lit them. Then my older brother discovered that if you put a plastic milk jug on the end of your stick, hold it over the fire and turn it at just the right moments, it catches on fire and melts to the stick. The best part? The plastic would fall in drips, like liquid fire falling to the ground. (And contaminating it for many years to come. Although I swear we didn't know about that part.)
Lots of dried weeds grew along the barbed wire fence at the back of the lot, so my brother and I took our Dripping Flame on a Stick along the back fence, and dropped liquid fire along the strip of weeds. (I think my parents let us because we were such responsible kids. Not ecologically responsible, mind you.) So we set little fires all along the way, close enough that one would eventually reach the next, leading up to the bonfire growing in the middle of the yard.
Plotting a book is a lot like dropping liquid fire into dry weeds. You need that fire-- or the conflict-- happening often enough that it will pull the reader to the next flame of conflict. If you place each of the flames carefully, then the fire will propel its way along and lead your reader all the way up to the bonfire-- the climax-- at the end.
Because the bonfire at the end is what it's really all about.
P.S. I've been interviewed by Chantele at My Writing Bug. You should go check it out, if for no other reason than to sit and stare at how darn pretty her blog is. Seriously. It takes me a good minute of staring before I even start reading her posts, which are every bit as great as her layout.
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