As I mentioned on Monday, this week I’ve been focusing my writing-related-task on outlining these stories in my head. (Among other things, naturally. I’ve also read two really great books this week so far, and am beta reading. I enjoy staying busy. lol)
I’ve come to the simple conclusion that plots are hard. Very hard. Elusive even. It may have been only Monday that I was banging my fists on the desk as I complained that I have a head full of characters and nothing to do with them, and what good are characters without plot?!
One character in particular is driving me absolutely crazy. I’ve had a couple of false-starts (THREE so far) with her, but still can’t get her right, and she still refuses to leave me alone. Any time I try to work on another character, another idea, she barges to the front screaming, “What about me?” Then I have to fight off the urge to shake her when I say, “Then tell me your story.” But all she does is glare at me, her eyes smoldering from the intensity of whatever it is she’s hiding, with lips shut tight.
ARGH! She makes me feel like a crazy person.
I have found a good method for getting my ideas detailed and fleshed out though. Remember that five-page outline I mentioned Monday? Yep. Here’s my basic approach to that (Which, I’ve written three now, so maybe it’ll stick. Who knows.)
- Hello, protag. Nice to meet you, let’s get you into some trouble.
- Protag goes to school and is assaulted by a flying unicorn.
- Protag fights back, discovering some secret hidden power for defending himself against flying unicorns.
- Protag escapes to a safe place.
- Protag needs help, he has to find Weird Old Man Who Always Says Weird Things.
- Weird Old Man’s house is even weirder than the man himself.
Etc. You get the idea, right? For each chapter I detail out who is in it, what happens, the conflict, and the motivation. This is why they wind up about five pages long.
This is most definitely ten steps farther than the last outline I worked with. And I’ll be honest and say I haven’t used it to write a book yet, but I will. I like that this way I can detail out, in advance, the arc of each chapter. Each chapter becomes a story within itself with a beginning, middle, and end and I don’t have to try to revise that in (like I’ve done many, many times before).
This way I have the opportunity to see where my plot is going to fall apart before I ever start writing, and can fix it. Or redo it — without losing 10k words. Been there, done that.
So do you guys have any plotting tips for me? What do you do to get those characters to spill their stories?
Also, you may want to hop over to the SS&D ARC Tour page…there is a little bit of a surprise there! Like, maybe another contest? Hurry, go see!