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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Feasibility Study--Or How Much Yarn Does It Take To Spin a Good Plot


Sometimes, I waste hours doing feasibility studies--with crocheting and with writing. For instance, I had some lovely old yarn with subtle shades and sparkly highlights and I wanted to see how far I could go with it. Could I make a baby blanket?

It didn't take me long to figure out that my small amount of yarn wouldn't go far. Disappointed, I went to the store to see if I could find more yarn like it, but there wasn't anything close. I placed a sample next to other yarns to see if perhaps I could find something of a similar texture and weight so I could use what I had for a granny square afghan.

I didn't have any luck. I could make a baby hat or baby booties, but a blanket takes yards and yards and yards of yarn. For a whole, cohesive blanket it's best to start with many, many skeins of yarn--more than enough to finish the project.

I believe this process is similar when making up a plot for a book. There has to be enough plot to fill the pages and that includes the right amount of characters along with a difficult problem which cannot be solved easily. It's also necessary to have a sufficient number of scenes in order to lead the protagonists into more trouble. While it's nice to enjoy a happy ever after, there should be a whole lot of worrying about coming to the end of one's rope (or ball of yarn) before the ending is tied up into a neat knot.

I've been doing a lot of research for my historical Patriot's Courage, which is set in 1794 in Ohio Territory. The research isn't really part of the feasibility study. Since the book is a going to be a romance, it's more about the characters than the setting. That's the tough part. :-)

But it's fun. I love spinning yarns.


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