As a young girl, I found "happily ever afters" boring, an unfit ending for the elaborate stories I imagined. Were those hours of daydreaming in my tree house in Northern California the start of my writers journey to understanding plot? Possibly, though it took years and an act of magic before I ever actually wrote one of my stories down on paper.
Language came late for me. And what could be better for a child born without language than a mother gifted in art? Nonverbal well beyond all developmental terms, I relied on my mother's favorite past time of doodling. She doodled while talking on the telephone, listening to the radio, waiting for doctor's appointments and dentist visits, during piano lessons and church choir practices. Her words, like everyone else's were mostly a jumbled mass of meaningless chatter, but her pictures conveyed her message.
Today, that speechless child now dabbles in words. I paint and sketch and draw out plots and scenes and characterizations. Both when writing and reading, as the words create pictures in my mind, I am sent back to the days of sitting beside my mother listening carefully to her words while watching her meaning unfold beneath pen on paper, that magic she called doodling.
Years of speech therapy finally taught me to speak so that others besides just my mother could understand me. However, to unjumble the mess dyslexia made for me with expressive language, verbal and written, I had to first complete college, earn all kinds of degrees and work one-on-one with hundreds of children.
Fifteen years ago, I sold my speech, language, and learning disability clinic and, by chance, offered to organize the research my father and mother had uncovered about a famous family ancestor - Commodore Robert Field Stockton. I still remember the day that Robert, or Bobby, his horse and buggy out of control racing down Stockton Street in 1809 Princeton, New Jersey, headed straight off the computer screen and into my life. The joy of that creative magic continues to thrill me today.
Having taken twelve years to truly grasp the elusive concept of plot and use it effectively in my own works of fiction, I now find joy in sharing with writers of all ages what I have learned about plot. My work to help writers find the structure to their stories continues through my DVDs and book, BLOCKBUSTER PLOTS Pure & Simple. In the DVDs and the book, I present step-by-step strategies that demystify the structure of story. Whether a writer of novels, screenplays, memoirs, short stories or creative non-fiction, everyone benefits from a visual representation of the scenes and plot of his or her project.