30 Days of PreWriting, Day 10   Leave a comment

Today’s Link: http://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm

Now it’s time to go back to the first few days of our prewriting series. I linked to Simon Haynes’ article about plotting using Freemind. At the time, we were talking about clustering. But it becomes important again, now that we’re talking about plotting. Admittedly, not everyone is going to find that method helpful. I do, but not for every novel. Through the process of my prewriting, I’ve determined that my superhero novel is nowhere near ready for me to write in November. The story is being very uncooperative, so it needs a little more simmering time. Maybe I’ll do it for next year’s NaNo. Instead, I’m going to set a goal of 100k words on my second novel that I’d planned to do this year. I think I can do it easily.

Right now, this is what my mind map looks like for that novel (I blurred it to keep from spoiling it for fans of The Mansion, and to protect myself from idea theft. It’s still readable if you really want to read it.)

UlanMansionMMPic

At this point, I could call that good and start writing. Or, I can choose to break things down a little more, adding in additional details at each of those steps. For this novel, I happen to have a little bit of an idea of what’s going to happen. It was originally plotted out as the last 3 or so books of a 5 book series. I’m cutting down my focus to three major characters and attempting to get all of the 3 books into one. Which may or may not work out well. We’ll see.But maybe you’re not even that clear on your plot. So, let’s take one of the plots from today’s link and work it out a little.

Good Housekeeping The PCs are placed in charge of a large operation (a trading company, a feudal barony, the CIA) and must, despite lack of experience in such things, make it work and thrive.
Common Twists & Themes: The PCs are brought in because something big is about to happen, and the Old Guard wants a chance to escape. The peasants, neighbors, employees, etcetera resent the PCs, because their method of inheritance looks outwardly bad and everybody loved the old boss.

On our mind map, we’d start out with this:

ExampleMMPic

Basically, I broke the one sentence plot summary into three sentences, setting those as our three beginning nodes. If we already know our characters, we can add those on the right side (I’ll add Rin and a couple other random people in there, just for this example). Then, tomorrow, we’ll use our new link to try to flesh out our basic idea.
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