Thursday, September 19, 2013



So nice to have you aboard Flowers and Thorns.

Tell us about plot.

For me, writing is all about the plot. The feel for dialogue doesn’t cause me to stumble. I have an acute ear for mimicry, dialect and the ways minute language choices act as sign posts to character, status, gender and etc.  Writing action, or intimacy, or casual scenes over a cup of coffee doesn’t faze me. But if I don’t have plot, I can’t write a word.

Which leaves me pointing a finger at my parents. A cry goes out in the land, ‘It’s all their fault.’ I grant you, therapy is meant to put paid to those sorts of issues by the time a person reaches her years of discretion. But when I was a small child, my parents’ pastimes set me on the road my feet still tread; though neither they nor I knew it at the time.

As early as the mid nineteen sixties, my parents became involved in the small-but-active community of lay Jungians in the U.S. They workshopped, attended conferences, traveled for seminars, created listening groups to attend taped sessions of material, and subscribed to a variety of publications. Both my father and my mother thought and studied deeply on matters from a Jungian perspective.

Back in the day, my father served as an ordained clergyman of the Episcopal Church in a suburb of Chicago. My mother was a full-on housewife. One effect of their passion for the teachings of Dr. Carl Jung was visible on our bookshelves. Alongside a number of different editions of the Bible, we kept a run of Just So stories, creation myths, and fairytales. I remember my mother saying clearly as she opened a book for our bedtime read-aloud, “This is a story about how some of the people in Mexico believe the world began. It’s not the same creation myth we have, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”

I don’t know what the triggering incident was, but one day after church, my mother brought me a big, fat book. The book certainly looked big and fat from the perspective of an eight year old. She said, “I think you need to understand more about how it is for other people in the world, dear.” And then she handed me Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs. This was the beginning of my studies in astrology, as well as being a nicely Jungian solution to guiding a child into a wider recognition of variety in the human experience.

What has all this got to do with plot? Well, comforting or not, the planets and their houses and the signs of the zodiac forever wheel around at different speeds, varying against the day or night, and they make stories. From my perspective, a birth chart is the story we come into the world to tell ourselves. The movements of the heavens after our birth are the ‘nurture’ part of the equation which further shapes our ends, rough-hew them as we will. I believe in plot down in my DNA. It causes us to get out of our beds, or to crawl under them, or to take to them.

Plot problems are the demons which bring me to writers block. Before I start a book, I sit and wrestle (using ink and paper) with plot development as Jacob wrestled with his angel. I adore it when my characters contain enough will and vitality to hi-jack my story and shift it to please themselves. I fear those moments also. Once I lose the strand of plot leading me into and out of the labyrinth of my story, I stand stock still—listening in the dark to grains of life accumulating unseen, until they reveal a fresh direction and I am able once again to take up the thread of the tale.

I don’t have a ritual I follow to cut the Gordian knot of my writers block. I do take longer walks, as the vestibular stimulation seems more helpful rather than more distracting. I sleep more, perhaps hoping to find the answer in a dream. I cook less; maybe the other great craft in my life feels like a distraction and not a contributor. But the answers come only when they come. Until they do, I am stuck.

What techniques do others use to shake the plot blues away?

On Amazon  here

Fantasy by Carrie Megginson
Vasilissa Dmitrevna Jones travels Beyond the Veil once a month to serve the
legendary witch Baba Yaga. With the help of a house sprite bound by oaths to protect
and mentor Vasilissa, she accomplishes the impossible tasks and fabulous foodpreparations
demanded by the prehistoric cannibal hag. Vasilissa hates the time she
spends Beyond the Veil. She would rather live a ‘normal’ life in her hometown of
Mount McKinley.
One Saturday, Vasilissa accidentally frees the notorious Koschei the Deathless
from his imprisonment in the Baba Yaga’s wardrobe. The witch gives Vasilissa one
month to learn the skills, collect the tools, and bring back Koschei—or his deathless
heart. If Vasilissa fails, her cannibal good-mother promises to eat her.
With help, luck, and training, Vasilissa has one chance to bring Koschei to justice.
Can she stay focused on her goals, or will her crush on the letter carrier ruin her aim?
Will the talking fox she meets along the way prove to be a true friend, or is he up to
something else altogether? Can Vasilissa overcome the forces of evil and still be back
in time to walk the neighbors’ dog?

Vasilissa and the Deathless Heart
A Girl and her Doll Series
Carrie Megginson
MuseItUp Publishing

Carrie wants to know,

what techniques do you use to shake the plot blues away?
We love comments. Won't you please leave one?





  1. I do enjoy stories using existing mythos, then screwing the heck out of them. The myth bedrock is a sturdy place to build a very weird and wonderful house of a book.

    Yours is right up my alley. Thanks for the interesting post on Jungian philosophy, astrology, and Episcopalian thought. I wish I had your bookshelf growing up.

  2. Hi Carrie. Thanks for an interesting take on plot. I usually set my work aside for a few days and let my brain figure it out. Takes a while, but like you said, when it comes, it comes. Thanks for sharing.