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    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

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Got Plot? #AmWriting #AmPlotting

Business man writing plan ABC
When I first decided to try to make a living doing this thing I love called writing, my first step was to learn as much as I could about anything writing or publishing.

One of the biggest helps  when I was starting out were the online workshop/classes hosted by RWA, among others. Authors teaching authors. This community is kind, helpful and always willing to share knowledge 😀

After a ton of blog reading, I settled on my first topic to study and improve.

Plotting.

I still enjoy the book, 20 Master Plots by Ronald Tobias (I have the 2003 edition, there’s a new 2012 edition now). Even Tobias states, though, that no one knows how many types of master plots there are (his guess is not 20, he only gives you an overview of different plots such as Revenge, The Quest, Adventure, Love, ect.)

Okay, I thought. *I think* I can work with that, LOL.

 

Next step, plot elements.

Free Rollercoaster Track Royalty Free Stock Photography - 6322557And this is where it got really interesting.

 

3 Act Structure

5 Act Structure

 I even heard of doing an 8 Act once.

 Spider web plotting

Storyboarding

Snowflake plotting, and on and on.

 

Yup. I read books and/or took classes on them all.

Guess how many worked perfectly for me?

ZERO

 

But it was definitely worth it. Because I took away so much information from each and every step, that I was able to form a mutt-mix bastardization method of elements from them all into my own questionable path to plotting.

Since I’m at the beginning of creating a new world and series for the first time in a couple years, I decided to revisit some of them.

It’s always interesting what new information I find, now that I have more writing under my belt.

 

So, my Q4U: How do you plot? Or, how do you pants it (no pre-story/outline writing)?

 And, how did you learn or decide on your method?

New Year, New Story…

Okay so the New Year has arrived and it’s time to get back to writing.  Shadow’s Soul is out being eviscerated, I mean critiqued, by the other Evil Six so I decided to start the year off write…I began to plot out Raine and Gavin’s next adventure.

But to get to this point took time.  Here’s a little insight into the schizophrenic maze known as a writer’s mind. 

I’ve spent the last few weeks prepping the Prankster Duo, the knight in slightly muddy armor, and the hellhound for the holidays.  We had to hunt down holiday gifts, bind them and then deliver them out to the other Swamp residents.  The Swamp Thing family has had a rough time this season so we had to sneak in late one night to leave their gift on the doorstep in an effort not to be dragged into their “martial discussions”. The Prankster Duo managed to get in and get out without any major setbacks (fires, explosions, dismemberment, etc.) while delivering Smokey, Quirky and Jedi’s gifts.  The knight and I took on the tougher residents. Evading Snarky’s newest whip was perilous and dropping off Eerie and Mischievous’ gifts, well I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say the hellhound was in need of some bone therapy afterwards, and knight’s armor had a few more dents to add to his collection.  Don’t tell Eerie, but I think I lost a blade to one of the shambling hordes.

Regardless, we made it through the season.  The Prankster Duo has increased their weaponry supply with some new additions and they’ve been tormenting the zombies scuffling through the Swamp.  The hellhound was quite pleased with his decapitated duck and unidentified leg bone.  Overall it was a lovely Holiday!

While hunting down and setting sneaky traps for our holiday gifts, I decided to pare down the towering pile of nightstand books and got caught up with some of my favorite stories.  When I finished with that, it was time to face the ominous quest looming on my horizon… the creation of my next book.

For those not familiar with a writer, let me explain why your writer friends seem to morph into bi-polar maniacs with multiple personalities in-between their Works in Progress (aka WIPs).  We all fear the blank page or screen that mocks us with its whiteness. 

Typing the last word on your last story is a relief, until you realize you have to start all over again.  Regardless if you’re doing a stand-alone or a series, beginning a story is terrifying.  Let’s follow along with my neurosis as I begin a new WIP.

First question that hits—can I do it?  Can I really get another three to four hundred pages that will keep a reader on the edge of their seat? Am I all tapped out? Was writing that last book, was that it?

A few deep breaths and a handful of chocolate later I’ve managed to smash that stupid voice into silence.  Yes, I’m a writer, damn it, I can do this.  I’ve done it before.

Next question—so do I continue with Raine and Gavin or do I let other characters have their own story? Should I go back to that other story line and take a break from Raine? If I continue with Raine, I’ll have to pitch to my editor for book three, if I don’t I’ll have to go back out to the vicious world of pitches and throw myself on the mercy of another editor.  What to do?

I re-read the 125 pages I have of the other WIP and it hits me…this isn’t going to work without some major re-writing.  Where do I start? Should I throw it away and just start from scratch? I mean, I really like some of it, but other parts are going to have me sporting a Sinead O’Connor look real quick.  Oh man, maybe it’s not so smart to go back to that one just yet….okay let’s think about Raine. 

What do I need to do next? Where is the overall story arc going? Every book has to accomplish something or why write their story? Fine, let’s torment the newly established couple, throw in some twists and turns and then…miracle of miracles, words are spitting across the page.  A plot emerges.  This is good, I haven’t lost the ability yet. 

Okay so I have a plot, but I’m still thinking this year I’d like to get two books done, so where do I focus?  How do I choose which gets to be done first? The massive re-write or begin Raine’s latest adventure?

Dear God I think the voices in my head are going to stomp my brain into mush and it will leak out of my ears and then neither story will get written.  ARRRGHHH!!!

I manage to piece together Raine’s story and I’m turning over how to re-write the other story, but in the meantime those around me are giving me a wide berth.  Maybe it’s the fact I’m continuously mumbling under my breath while wildly gesturing to get the voices to lower to a dull roar, or maybe it’s the fact that while eating a lovely dinner with family, I blurt out, “She’s being hunted by a psychic psychopath!”

Chairs scrape a few more inches away from me, the Prankster Duo just shake their heads, and knight simply responds in a gently voice, “Do you want some more chocolate, babe?”

And the year has barely begun…

Wicked!

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