Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Organizing a Wedding can be like Plotting a Book

I’m sure you’re thinking “What?”
Both require planning.
I have to admit that I was excited about the theme for this month, and the subject for the day that my blog turn fell upon. See, my daughter is getting married this summer so at present I’m up to my chest in wedding plans, if not higher. I’m also planning a couple of books. One book is a romance and the other a nonfiction, so I have no trouble making the comparison between books and weddings, mostly because they’re the sum total of my world for the next three months.
In a book as well as a wedding it’s important to know the players. It may be more difficult to do that in a book because the writer has to create the characters backgrounds and issues. BUT, compared to getting to know the bride or groom’s family and what they expect on the wedding day it may be a tossup on which is the more difficult. Fictional characters have problems, expectations and challenges just like real people. Just figure out who will do what, when, and where and make them work at getting to know each other.
Weddings need to have a setting as do books. Should the wedding be held at a church, outside, on a beach or will everyone take a cruise? (I personally think this one works best for a bride’s mother, but no one asked me.) The setting can play a major role in the story or wedding, or blend into the background. That is only a decision the author or the bride and groom can make.
Make use of scenes. These are when we see the characters or the bride and groom interacting with each other. For the wedding this can be when the guest list is decided on, looking for the first house to buy, or what blender to register for. The list can go on and on. Reading about what characters do together makes or breaks the relationship between in the story.
Decorating is necessary at a wedding and this includes clothes the members of the wedding party wear. This reflects the personality of the couple marrying. The groomsmen in my daughter’s wedding party are going to be wearing camo ties. Does this say anything about the groom? You bet it does. I write Presents and my alpha males are rich. They show up looking sharp and suave in pressed slacks and a silk shirt. How the author dresses their characters adds another dimension to the characters for the reader.
The reception is the meet and greet, cake and rice throwing part of the wedding where all the family and friends of both parties intermingled. This section of a book is where everything comes together. The characters find they are bonded by not only their love for each other but by the circumstances and events that brought them together, just like the newlyweds do.
Ask me in a few months how the plotting and planning have gone. And more importantly did I survive.


Dianna Love said...

Now there's a new look at planning a book. I am so not good at planning weddings (I told my husband I would only do it once no matter how ours worked out - that was 25 years ago), so I guess it's good I can plot. "g"

I like the analogies though. Very clever.

Sandy Elzie said...

Good morning Susan,

Ah, the pleasures of being the mother of the bride. I totally agree that planning a novel is like planning a wedding...just cheaper.

My baby girl got married 18 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. She did all the plotting and planning and I went along for the ride (and to write checks) because she did such a great job.

Even though they were married in a military base chapel, and due to 9-11 and Desert Storm all the guests had to have their picture taken in order to get a visitor's pass, the wedding started only about half an hour late and a great time was had by all the characters. (g)


Marilyn Baron said...

What a great post. Congratulations on the upcoming wedding. I have two daughters but haven't planned a wedding yet. I also enjoyed your analogies and when the time comes that would be an interesting way to approach it.

Marilyn Baron

Debbie Kaufman said...

Seems like with a wedding photographer for a daughter, I never really leave weddings behind. So far, only 1 of my 4 are married off, so there are a lot more weddings in my future! Love the analogy.

Susan May said...

Weddings are such big business like publishing that I thought the comparison could work. Mary Beth is my only daughter so this will be my chance to get the planning right.

J Perry Stone said...

Okay, Susan, I laughed out loud about the cruise comment. Here here. I'm going to start brain-washing my daughter now. She's 7.

As for your take on the novel, now that I've read your wedding approach, you're exactly right.

The advice I need the most is: "Make use of scenes." If it doesn't add to the h/h, out with them.

Here's hoping you get a break soon.


Sally Kilpatrick said...


What an interesting comparison. Personally, I like writing a book better than I liked planning a wedding. I knew what I wanted, but all the other parties either couldn't remember or didn't care.

Come to think of it, I might change my mind if I'm ever published. I remember quite vividly going over all of my preferences with the wedding planner six months after I had given her a detailed list. Why do I feel that revisions might be similar?

Good luck with the wedding, and I'm with J--I'm going to start brainwashing Lorelai now in favor of the cruise wedding.

Tami Brothers said...

Awesome post, Susan. Like everyone else, I never looked at writing and planning a wedding like this. You are spot on and they fit perfectly.

My Systems Analysis teacher would be very proud of your breakdown. I had to do something similiar with getting a coke out of a coke machine and baking a butter pound cake. Yours was a lot more fun to read....grin....

Anna Steffl said...

The cruise idea is excellent!

Good luck on the planning. No matter what, you're a jewel and they're lucky to have you on the team.

Mary Marvella said...

Weddings! Loved everyones stories and comments.

I was the photographer's assistant for my EX for 30 years. We dragged the kid to weddings at 6, because the sitter backed out and we had to be there. Now she also photographs weddings and sometimes needs mom's expert help.

For years I booked the weddings, planned the photos with the Bride groom and families, and created a wedding album for the couple. My books told a "play-your-heart-strings" story and they bought them.

My daughter planned her own wedding until there were things she needed at the last minute. I was like a fish out of water as mother of the bride.

Photographing and assisting I can do. Being mother of the bride is hard!

Linsey Lanier said...


Some great analogies. I like the idea that what the characters do together makes or breaks the relationship.

Good luck on your very busy summer. I hope you get not only a great son-in-law, but a book contract out of it. :)


Darcy Crowder said...

Susan -

Great comparison. If anybody can pull off a class act wedding, AND get the book plotted, it's you. ;) You've got enough energy for 2 people.

Good luck!


Carol Burnside said...

Great analogy, Susan!
Good luck with all the plans. You probably make it look so easy, no one realizes you're stressing. I'm glad you're coming to see me in a few weeks. You need some down time. :)