Sweet Baby Lover
Trent was my partner until he died, unexpectedly, at age 46. I loved him immensely and he adored me. After he died, my friends encouraged me to write out my grief. So I did, on a blog, because it was 2009 and I thought it would be cool to have a blog.
My plan was to make blog posts about my time with Trent until I ran out of things to say. Then I would quit. Every time a memory came to mind, I wrote a brief reminder about it on a post-it and stuck the post-it in a composition book. Yellow and orange post-it notes covered four pages.
When I had written the final story from the final post-it note, I stopped writing blog posts. I let the blog languish. But something didn’t feel right. The blog posts weren’t in chronological order, they were written in the order of whatever memory tugged at me when I sat down to write. Because the posts weren’t chronological, it wasn’t possible to read the story as it unfolded.
So, with a ream of printed posts, I headed to the hills of the Smoky Mountains. For two weeks, I lived in a tiny cabin where I rearranged the story order which revealed holes where stories should have been written but weren’t. Then I wrote the missing stories.
When I came home, I studied how to self-publish a book. I hired a developmental editor, then a line editor, then a copy editor. I hired a cover designer but saved the interior design of the book for myself. Then, on the anniversary of Trent’s birthday, I published it.
I’m proud of having written it and proud of the fact that when I brought it to a writer’s retreat, the NYT bestselling author who ran the retreat said, “This doesn’t look like a self-published book. It looks like a real book.”
I have no distance from this book. I can’t tell if it’s good or if it’s not. I’ve been asked to make an audiobook of it and haven’t been able to do that, at first because I didn’t want to revisit that time, and later because I wanted the audiobook to be in my voice. I didn’t know how to do that and didn’t know how to learn.
But, I’ve taken a podcasting workshop and I’ve learned how to record my own voice. Now I have to be willing to go back and spend time with the story of the man I loved who is no longer here.
“[Sweet Baby Lover] is a love letter, a memoir,
a beautiful book about what it means to go on the journey of a lifetime.”
– Seth Godin, Author
Maybe you already have a shelf or a Kindle full of books on story structure. But maybe despite all those books, and despite your heartfelt desire to tell a good story, you don’t have a story that works.
Good news—THE STORYWHEEL can help!
My novel was stuck.
It got off to a slow start, then a mediocre middle, and was on its way to grinding to the wrong end. To get unstuck, I needed a better understanding of what—at the plot level—makes a story work.
My books on structure came off the shelf. I’d already read them, but this time I studied them. Fellow writers suggested additional sources and I buried my head in those. I closed my blinds to watch and re-watch Gladiator. I met with book editors and attended story workshops.
Friends asked how my novel was coming along and I told them I was working on structure, that I had to understand structure to write my novel.
My friends smiled politely. I wondered if they thought I was avoiding my novel. I wondered about that too, but pressed on.
After sinking my head into an ocean of story structure, I emerged with a bone-deep understanding of what makes a plot work. And I don’t want to keep this treasure to myself.
If you’re having issues with the structure of your story—if the plot feels off, or if you have an empty crater because you don’t know what should happen next—THE STORYWHEEL can help.
THE STORYWHEEL is a visual model that illuminates story structure, backed with explanation and examples.
Story is complex but it need not be complicated. And if you’ve ever felt ignorant about how to structure a story, that’s not a reflection of your intelligence. It just means you haven’t—yet—found a method that works for you.
I believe the storywheel could be that method. If you’re a visual learner (as I am), I’m certain of it.
I hope the storywheel clarifies what may have been confusing and allows you to spend less time structuring and more time creating, that the result is a story born into the world with more ease and assurance.
“Practical, visual and effective storytelling magic.” —Seth Godin
It’s for you.
It’s free. (You don’t even need to provide your email address).
“The Storywheel has been helpful to me and many others. It combines so many theories and makes them useable.”
– Carole Wolfe, author
In the works…
I’ve always written non-fiction—a blog, my memoir, years of writing at work. But I wanted to try to write a novel. What have I learned so far? It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before. When I’m not banging my head against a wall, I’m having a blast.
The story is about a woman forced to decide if she will give up what she desperately wants to get what she truly needs. I don’t want to say more until I have more to show for it.
If you’d like to be an early reviewer, let me know! I’m looking for feedback and would love to know what you think.