plot, storyboarding, writing

Plot In Your Face

As I made the decision to do NaNoWriMo and began plotting, I have been bombarded with great posts on plotting. So I thought I would share these great posts for you to peruse and glean from.

Kaye Dacus: Look What @Sherrinda Made Me Do
A look into Kaye’s storyboarding/plotting while she is furiously trying to meet a deadline.

Erica Vetsch: Plotting and Pages
A look into Erica’s plotting techniques.

Julia Reffner: Storyboarding for “Plodders” & “Mist Flyers”, Storyboarding Part I
Great look into the benefits of storyboarding.

Cindy Wilson: Writing With A Formula (even if you are not a plotter)
A great tool for figuring out your story’s main plot.

There are the fun posts I found this week on plotting. I also purchased My Book Therapy’s book, From the Inside Out…discover, create, & publish the novel in you. It is a great tool and very simplistic, and has worksheets to help you think through your story in the development stages. So far, I love this book! I’m hoping it helps this next week as I get this plotting finished for NaNo.

Have a Happy Weekend!

black moment, conflict, plot

Black Moments

I’m working on a synopsis for my next project, a speculative piece of fiction. I’ve taken Camy Tang’s class on the Synopsis, so I know what to do, yet I am struggling with finding the black moment. You know, the main conflict that throws the main character under the bus. The conflict that takes the hero or heroine to the crossroads where they question, ponder and come to a new knowledge about themselves and their situation.

So why am I struggling? I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to be mean to my characters. In my last book my heroine was beaten (she was dressed as a boy and well, it’s medieval times and people brawled back then!) so I suppose I don’t really have trouble being mean. But in the contemporary world, you don’t always have the physical brutality of earlier eras. You have the politically correct, sanitized world of the 21st century.

Since it’s speculative, there is a bit of magic in it (not witches or anything like that), so with that thrown in, it gives a different spin on things for me and it is difficult to spin a plot that weaves the spiritual thread in with the “magical” element. I’m mulling things over and trying out different catastrophic plot points to see what works and what doesn’t. So far the “doesn’t” is winning out over the “does”, but I’ll keep trying.

BECAUSE…I am ready to start a new story. This is the week…I feel it. And if it doesn’t come to me by the weekend, I’m starting anyway.

Who else has trouble with conflict in their story? Any black moment surprises?

characters, charts, plot

Prep Work

I wonder how many people like doing prep work. You know, taping around doors and windows before you paint your bedroom. Steaming and scraping old wallpaper before you paint or lay down new paper. Or how about hoeing or tilling the ground before planting seeds for a garden.

I don’t always like the prep work for anything involving manual labor. I think it has to do with my intense dislike for sweating. But let me do the prep work for a new story and I’m all over that!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my new story and while I still haven’t found my Plot & Structure book, I’ve been reading up plotting and character development on some great writing blogs (Hi Seekerville Ladies!) I’ve also been looking through my synopsis class notes (Hi Camy Tang!) which will be a tremendous help in getting a synopsis completed BEFORE I write! Yes, I am plotting deep and strong this time around. Today I am printing out my charts and hope to get them filled out this week in preparation for my summer writing spree.

These next three weeks will be spent developing my characters, working on their GMCs, and developing a plot. Today I am printing out my character and GMC charts and will begin getting some of these ideas out of my head and onto paper. Yes, I like to do it by hand, the old fashioned way, when I do my prep work. There is something organic, freeing, and creative in feeling the pen glide across the page.

I love the creative aspect of writing. I love ideas coming together to make a story. I’m getting excited!

How many of you like the prep work? Or do you find it a necessary evil? What is YOUR process?

plot

Lost and Not Found

I’ve lost Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell and I am frantic trying to locate it! There are only so many places it could be, right? There is no one to loan it out to…well, there is one, but I don’t remember loaning it to her.

So where or where art thou, oh book so needed and desired?
The thing is, I am ruminating a story idea and want to be a “plotter” with this one instead of doing it by the seat of my pants. I need to read through this book again so I know how to do it right. I want my plot to be sound, with no holes. I want the story to flow, with no skips and lurches. I need to find this book!
And no, my library does not carry it. *gasp*
I suppose I could use my Amazon money that I’ve won from Swagbucks, but I am wanting some fun books from some favorite authors that are coming out soon. (Swagbucks is a site to earn online money by using their search engine. You can exchange the online money to purchase gift cards and other merchandise. I always buy the Amazon gift cards and put it in my Amazon account to feed my book habit. Shameless plug, I know.) I really don’t want to purchase a book I KNOW has to be around here somewhere.
So now what? I’m not sure. I need some help in plotting, to be sure, but am not quit sure what to do. I wonder if there are online helps I could find? Or maybe my library has something comparable. (I know, I know, there is nothing like Bell’s work!) But surely there is something out there to help me.
Any ideas?

plot, synopsis

Synopsis Class Update

I’m nearing the end of my synopsis class I am taking from Camy Tang. This has been the most challenging and the most useful thing I have ever done with my writing. I have learned more the past two weeks than I have reading all my writing books combined! Seriously.

Camy puts up a lesson through a Yahoo Group created for the class. We then do the homework and post it to the Group. Camy looks it all over and comments and makes suggestions for making your work stronger.

What I have loved about this class is the way Camy encourages you while challenging you at the same time. She has a great way of giving you examples of what she is looking for, without telling you outright what to write. I’ve had lots of “aha” moments and have found a plot hole. Maybe not a hole, but a weak part the story. It’s amazing how she helps you to look at your story from a bird’s eye view.

Right now, my homework is to write the spiritual/internal arc. This has me stumped, and the reason is because I started my book not wanting to write a “Christian” fiction book. I wanted to write a fun and engaging story, yet not be preachy. But as I wrote, my faith couldn’t help but creep in, and my characters began a spiritual trek. So as I try to put on paper what their journey is, well, it’s not good. There ISN’T a great spiritual/internal arc and this is something I need to develop.

I’ve got alot of work to do. 🙂 But that’s okay! I’ve learned how to write a synopsis. This class has taught me HOW to pre-plot a book!!!! That is HUGE! The pre-plotting will help to build a solid foundation…without plot holes.

I’m so excited and I think this class is an incredible resourse for writers. Seriously, check out Camy Tang and see what she has to offer. She won’t let you down!

What other classes have you taken that gave you an “aha” moment? Or if you haven’t taken a class, what lesson from what book did you learn from?

book ideas, plot, writing

Bell’s Pyramid of Writing

I’ve been reading Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell and it is an excellent resource. Last week I was struck by all the different ways to generate plot ideas. So what do you do with all those ideas? You’ve got to narrow them down and the way to do it is with the Bell Pyramid.

There are three layers to the Bell Pyramid. We’ll start at the base and work to the top.

Passion: A novel takes a long time to write, so you must be passionate about the plot you choose to write about. Rejections abound in the publishing world and many times it is because the work presented is “cookie cutter” work. Writers will follow the crowd and write what is selling instead of writing the book in their heart. You must feel passion about your plot to sustain your writing through the lenth of time it takes to write it.

Potential: You have to consider the possible reach of your plot idea to an audience. The way to do that is to put yourself in the shoes of an invester. Would you want to invest thousands of dollars in a book about cleaning a fish? Hhhmmm. You don’t need to write to the largest possible audience, but you do need to focus on a specific audience and write a passionate story to that audience. You want to write romance? What kind? Historical, suspence, contemporary, etc… It is not a rule, but a guideline as you write what you are really passionate about.

Precision: You’ve found what your passionate about and think the potential is there for a readership following. Now you must trim away anything that is not in line with that potential. If you are writing for suspense, don’t get distracted from that focus. You don’t want anything to distract from the potential.

I thought these were very helpful as I am gathering up ideas and trying to figure out which one to write about.

How do you decide which idea is the one you run with?

book ideas, plot, weight loss

Fat-Less Friday & Plot Ideas

For my Fat-Less Friday, I am announcing another loss! Woohoo! I stepped on the scales and held my breath. The lady at the computer stared intently at the screen and, after a long wait, looked up at me and smiled. I sighed in relief and eagerly looked at the sticker she stuck into my book. I lost 2.2 lbs, which gives me a total of 8.2 lbs.

I am well pleased.

My writing status:

I’ve been musing over ideas for my next ms and while I have a few ideas, I haven’t really dug deep and fleshed anything out yet. I started taking my book Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell to work and reading it during my lunch break. Can I just say, “WoW”?

Chapter 3 has really hit home with me as it delves into how to gather up plot ideas. He has a Top 20 list of ways to get plot ideas that just held me enthralled! I can’t wait to try a few of these. Here are just a few:

  1. Flip a genre. An example of this would be The Wild Wild West. It is just James Bond set in the Old West.
  2. Obsessions. You know, money, looks, ego, etc. Ahab obsessed about a whale in Moby Dick. Create a character, given them an obsession and see where they run.
  3. Titles. Create a great title, then write a story to go with it.
  4. Steal from the best. Yep, you read right. Bell says even Shakespeare took other’s plots and weaved his own magic into them. We’ve all seen movies with similar plots. Take a plot and ramp it up, make it new, let it sing!

Bell had so many great ideas for generating great and interesting plots. Now I just need to sit my backside in the chair and let my mind go roam wild and free. I’ve definitely got to let some things go. Hhhmmm. TV and the new shows coming on are very tempting, and oh, the books in the pile of my bed are calling! I’ve got to learn to let things go.

So how do you writers brainstorm ideas? Do ideas come to you in your normal, everyday life? Or do you sit yourself down and get down to business?

What things to do let go in order to write? Is it painful?