Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Devious Plotting

Via Pinterest
On Saturday, Anne-Girl posted her plotting style, and how she thought that, though it's not a good idea to copy other authors' styles, it is a good idea to read and study them, and use what you like of it.

Which got me thinking ... what IS my plotting style? How do I go from a plot bunny showing up with a shiny (and impractical) idea to a story ready to be written? Honestly, this isn't something I often give much thought to because I don't usually write it down.

So after some thought, I think I've nailed down a few things that I feel are important to my plotting.

1. The initial spark. This can be anything, from a random line I hear my sister say, to a random thought that pops into my head, something I read and I want to write their book ..., an idea my mom has and doesn't have the time to write herself ... (honestly, my mom gets a lot of those)

2. Casual dating. I usually don't write down the spark, since I get so many in a day, and my WIP list is already so long, I need to put it though some sort of test. If the idea keeps coming back and pestering me, I may be onto something, if it doesn't ... well  obviously it didn't really have the makings of a story.

3. Tell my mom. Actually, this step is optional, or it may occur later on in the process. Once I tell her, we may or may not spend long hours talking about plot and characters.

4. False starts and snippets. At some point or another in a book's journey, I will pull out a random notebook and start writing random conversation and scenes between random characters, and try to write an opening scene.

5. The breath of life. This is when I stumble upon a character, thought, theme, something that turns the story idea into something living, breathing, alive, and maybe even heart-wrenching. This is when I realize what the story is truly about.

6. The end. I'm a panster. Too much of an outline kills my inspiration. But I do need to know where the book is going. If I don't, the book is going to meander here and there and maybe to the moon, and it probably won't make any sense. Also important is the mid-goal. I like to have two goals in my books, conscious or not, one of which is reached about half-way through, and the second at the climax. For instance, The mid-goal of Sew, It's a Quest was for Robert to find out who Rosamond is, while the end-goal was the twins finding their Fairy Godmother (as well as a certain swordfight). For Take, the mid-goal was to get them to Winthrop Castle, and the end-goal was to have the wedding. You get the idea.

7. Determine my POV's. I don't need to know every character when I start my book, but I do need to know everyone who will have a POV in the book. This means up to six characters. Or once in a crazy while ... twelve! Sometimes I'll do up character profiles, determine their personality types, their likes/dislikes ... other times, I just pin down a name, a basic goal for them, and an appearance.

And then I start writing!

These may be done out of order, and sometimes I'll write a summery of sorts. With my NaNo novel this year, I've gone as far as to write out an entire table of contents (though none of the chapters have names, not sure if they'll get any - we'll see how it goes come November), with POV's and brief descriptions. However, that's not my normal reunite. This year's book has twelve characters, and each gets two chapters in their POV, so I needed to know who gets their chapter when for optimum suspense. And no, you're not getting anything more than that out of me!

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Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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