In her short ebook, “2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better and Writing More of What You Love,” author Rachel Aaron shares tips on how she went from writing two thousand words per writing session to ten thousand. For more details, see Carly’s earlier post.
In Aaron’s chapter “How I Plot a Novel in 5 Easy Steps,” she says that Step 0 is deciding whether the idea you have for your story or novel is the idea that you really want to spend your time on. How do you know if it is?
1. You can’t stop thinking about it. You’re doing the dishes or some other menial chore and you find yourself totally lost in your thoughts about your story. Or, you’re at work and can’t seem to focus because your antagonist is whispering in your ear about his evil plans for your main character. Read more
I’ve been experimenting lately with different ways to enter into writing scenes. One fun way is to use a sketchpad. I purchased a 5.5 inch x 8.5 inch Strathmore Sketchpad and colored pencils for doodling and have found it immensely useful for everything from sketching scenes to settings to drawing objects that might appear in a scene.
Not a drawer? Don’t worry, neither am I. My “people” consist of stick figures and my depth perception is nonexistent. Fortunately, you don’t need to be Picasso to use sketching as a way to ignite your imagination.
The first thing I drew in my sketchpad was a dagger. One of my characters carries a dagger and I needed to “see” it in detail. As I was drawing the dagger and the sigils on the blade, I had a vision of the sigils glowing when activated so I added this into a scene. As I continued to draw the dagger, I realized two other things about it that I hadn’t known before—these will also go into my story. Read more
As I work on plotting my current novel, I like to investigate what other authors are doing. By reading about their process, I learn tips to incorporate in my own process.
“How I Plot a Novel in Five Steps” by Rachel Aaron explains her process of plotting a novel. I like what she writes about timelines:
“Make a timeline. I didn’t have timelines for the first four Eli novels and OMG did it bite me in the ass. Lesson finally learned, I now make timelines not just for the events of the novel itself, but the history before it as well. I especially make sure to note relative ages and how long everyone’s known everyone else.”
“How to Create a Plot Outline in Three Easy Steps,” by Glen C. Strathy. To write a story that others will want to read we have to raise the stakes for our protagonist. Low stakes equals low interest. Strathy calls this, “The Cost.” Read more
Some words send shivers down my spine. Plot. Outline. Crisis. Climax. Beats. Scenes. Structure
Since one of my motto’s in life is to “go fear-ward,” I decided the best way to overcome my shivering was to dive into the world of “plot” and demystify it.
I read books, went to conferences, and played with the different exercises and ideas recommended by others to wrap my head around this idea of plot. (In my next post, I’ll share the books I found most helpful).
Along the way, I had several epiphanies. I realized that all plot really is is a series of events in your story. Plot is what happens. (Tweet this).
And, really, when you think about it, we’ve been learning about plot since the first day we learned to read: Read more
In her book The Plot Whisperer,author Martha Alderson writes about creating the climax scene in a novel. This is the scene that holds the greatest intensity and highest drama in the story. This is where all the forces of the story come together and where the protagonist must directly confront the antagonist. Just when it looks as if all is lost, the protagonist will discover or rediscover something within her that allows her to prevail.
The climatic scene directly answers the question at the outset of the novel—will the protagonist reach her goal and be victorious?
Alderson says, “A writer who has not experienced a transformation in her own life often cannot see, feel, touch, smell and hear the scene depicting such a moment for the protagonist.” Read more
Writer’s Digest recently offered a webinar on how to plot a novel by the Plot Whisperer, Martha Alderson, that I found very helpful. Alderson has a YouTube channel with 27 short videos for each step of the process.
The first video in the series is below (she says to ignore the barking dog in the background).
If you’d like to view more of her videos, her YouTube channel is: http://www.youtube.com/user/marthaalderson
And the remaining 26 videos for her plot tutorial can be found here.