Plotting by Magic Eight Ball

Posted by Liz Jasper | 4:07 PM | 8 comments »

I don't know why I've bothered to take all those classes, why I've wasted blood sweat and tears over my book plots…when I could simply have used a Magic Eight Ball!

"Yes!" it agrees.

Consider this passage beginning from a potential novel. Esmeralda looked out her window and saw…" Now, I could spend hours debating what exactly she saw, if it made sense for her to see it just then in the novel, how the sentence structure contributed to the book's pacing at that juncture, and so forth. You know, the usual writer's angst. OR, I could simply use the Magic Eight Ball!

Liz Jasper (to the Magic Eight Ball): Should Esmeralda see her hero?

Magic Eight Ball: Signs point to yes.

LIZ JASPER: Hmmm. I guess that means she should see him, but indirectly. Maybe he's in costume?

Magic Eight Ball: Concentrate and ask again.

LIZ JASPER: Right, right. She sees him getting into his carriage on the way to a costume ball.

Magic Eight Ball: Reply hazy try again.

LIZ JASPER: in the carriage, on the way to a costume ball, he has on one of those mask thingies, AND, that when she realizes her guardian is the mystery man she kissed in the gardens at the last costume ball!

Magic Eight Ball: Cannot predict now.

LIZ JASPER: And she knows he's on his way to meet his fiancée, to whom he was promised at birth but has never seen, and Esmeralda knows she cannot let him marry someone else because she loves him! So she rings for her maid and dons the gown from that fateful night, the gown she swore never to wear again, and secretly follows him to the ball in the second best carriage!

Magic Eight Ball: My sources say no.

LIZ JASPER: Dammit! No, you're right. It's been done. Hmm. How about she goes with him to the ball and that's when she realizes he's the one? Maybe when they're dancing together?

Magic Eight Ball: Very doubtful.

LIZ JASPER: You know, this is very annoying! Why can't you like any of my ideas? I'm a published author, you know. An award-winning published author. Fine, that was mysteries and the Esmeralda book is a historical romance, but still. Authors need to stretch themselves. Who are you to say I can't write a big thick romance? Screw you. She's going to that darn dance, she's going to follow him out of the garden, and she's going to…to seduce that blind fool!

Magic Eight Ball: My sources say no.

LIZ JASPER: Fine. She'll stumble and he'll clutch her to him--just for the sake of keeping her from falling—and then they'll kiss. Ha HAH! Now that's good stuff.

Magic Eight Ball: Outlook not so good.

LIZ JASPER: You'd probably like it if they didn't even exchange a smoldering look!

Magic Eight Ball: Most likely.

LIZ JASPER: Maybe You think I should be working on the next Underdead book like I'm supposed to be!

Magic Eight Ball: "As I see it, yes."

As you can see, the Magic Eight Ball can save you hours of time wasting and even help you with time management! I'd let you borrow mine, but it's having some, ah, technical difficulties right now. Maybe when the glue dries…'

Liz Jasper is the award-winning author of Underdead and Underdead in Denial. To read excerpts and reviews please visit her website at Liz is hard at work on the next Underdead mystery.


  1. Mary Marvella // January 23, 2009 at 4:33 PM  

    Liz, I loved that post because I understood it. The ball is supposed to agree with you like critique partners are supposed to tell you you're a brilliant writer.

    Thanks, you made me laugh!

  2. Mary Ricksen // January 23, 2009 at 7:26 PM  

    Boy did I need that laugh!
    I think I'll start using the eight ball for life decisions. It can't be any worse than my own.
    Very funny Liz!

  3. Liz Jasper // January 23, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

    I swear, the Magic 8 Ball is great. I asked it just now if I should eat a hunk of donut and it said, "outlook good." What's not to like?

  4. Scarlet Pumpernickel // January 23, 2009 at 11:07 PM  

    Note to self, buy "magic eight ball!" Boy, have I been doing it the hard way. Just what I need, something to tell me which way to go! Liz, I really enjoyed your post. It's funny, but having something as silly as an eight ball could make life and writing a lot simpler, couldn't it?


  5. Arkansas Cyndi // January 24, 2009 at 8:44 AM  

    I'm with Scarlet. Going today to buy eight-ball to improve my writing. LOL


    You have to post here more. I need the chuckle.

  6. Joanne // January 24, 2009 at 9:21 AM  

    Clever, funny post, Liz. Thanks for the chuckle.

  7. Beth Trissel // January 24, 2009 at 5:23 PM  

    Very witty as usual, Liz. :) I had one of these balls when I was about 12. Lots of fun.

  8. Nightingale // January 26, 2009 at 2:00 PM  

    Witty and clever as always, Liz. Enjoyed the interview. Maybe I'll buy a Ouija board.