Five-Year Plans and the Monkey’s Paw

Sunset catching distant rainfall last night. Gorgeous shade of rose.

So, last week I talked about Danbling and Overthinging in plotting a series arc. Theoretically plotting one, since I’m not much of a plotter. But one of the insightful comments made me realize WHY I’m not much of a plotter. It comes back to how I live my whole life and The Monkey’s Paw.

You remember that short story, right? I think we all had to read it in school. The monkey’s paw grants three wishes, but at terrible cost to the wishers. I don’t want to blow the story if you haven’t read it, but it’s the syndrome where you wish for a million dollars and then your kid gets killed by a city bus and you get a million-dollar settlement. The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t interfere with fate, “they” say. That’s not so much the story I carry away, not being all that into fatalism.

I totally believe we map our own futures.


I don’t think we can control it.

See, I’ve done training in a bunch of those systems where you map out a one-year, five-year, ten-year plan. You visualize exactly what you want, how you want it and precisely when. Most of the success gurus build off of this idea, in one way or another. The “exact” and “precise” aspects are meant to duck the monkey’s paw curse. You don’t let the tricksters mess with you – you specify exactly how you want your million dollars and when.

You know I’m all about “Be Careful What You Wish For.” What you get might not be exactly what you thought it would be. But for me, this doesn’t translate into “demand that the universe give you exactly what you want, when and where you want it.” That seems the height of arrogance to me.

This is why, despite my spreadsheets and other planning, I do not have a five-year plan.

I know what I want, what I wish for, how I’d like for my life to go. But I’m well aware I’m asking for gifts and blessings. If the universe chooses to rain good things on me, then I’m grateful. And I feel like part of that gratitude is leaving it up to Tao or the gods and goddesses or whoever, to give it to me in the best way at the best time.

So, while I have many plans and wishes, none of them are tied to time.

KAK’s comment made me see why I don’t really do this with plots, either. I do think the stories are gifts. I know in general what they’ll be and how they go, but I don’t feel like it’s my thing to control them. In fact, I think I’d be overstepping myself to impose my plan on them. That’s an excellent insight for me.

Now I just have to remember it when I start to overthing.

Danbling and Overthinging

See? I take photos of clouds in other places, too.

Ski slopes are funny places in the summertime, all denuded and over bright. But the clouds going by – ah, yes.

So, I’m getting myself back into the writing groove. Trying to plan and be all strategic-like. This is SO not my forte. You all know I envy those folks who plan out what they’re writing. I often delude myself into thinking I could be one of them. How hard can it be to plot a series arc?

Um, pretty damn hard, it turns out.

See, I have this plan (which I mentioned before, so sorry if this is too repetitive – go ahead, roll your eyes at me, I deserve it). Once I get the substantive edits on Obsidian from fabulous editor, Deb (she made noises about modifying the Liam scenes – what do you want to bet they want me to make him a more viable love interest? KAK is already Team Liam and she hasn’t even read the whole thing…), they’re predicted for late October, so I have that time blocked out. Then I’ll dive into the sequel, Aquamarine.

I’ve always thought Obsidian would be the first of a series. Like, um, mumble mumble maybe seven books long mumble.

I know.

I KNOW, okay?

Never let it be said that I’m not ambitious. You could add in other words, too, and I couldn’t argue with you.

The problem is, though I have this vague, general idea of how the story will progress and the big ideas of what will happen, they don’t parse out into actual plots. So, naturally, I’ve been bugging my CPs about this. I asked Marcella if she thought all series should be trilogies at most (I could swear I heard her say this once) and she said I’m asking the wrong girl since she’s working on a five-book series. I bugged Laura about it while she was tired and had been drinking margaritas. She said that the danger with series arc plotting is overthinging it. She advised that I simply keep notes on my plot threads, so as not to leave anything danbling.

They both patted me soothingly on the head (They might even have typed ~pat pat pat~ into the IM window.) and told me my process is fine.

But I’m still not sure how I’m going to do this. Any advice?

Otherwise, I’ll just be here, danbling and overthinging.