Post by Keri on Oct 4, 2020 9:11:19 GMT -5
October 1st, 2020
(Sign Up Thread Here!)
Welcome to OctoOctober 2020, a Preptober Workshop. This year, please feel free to download the prep book which has some more fun, some more questions, and more pictures of our lovely mascot, Otto the Octopus.
As a reminder, we’re going to be focusing different “arm” every week. The order to this is semi-arbitrary; there’s a rhyme and reason to it, but everyone’s rhyme is different.
So today, we’re going to focus on planning and plotting (and how people may do one and not the other and how some people do neither). If you’re following along in the prep book, we’re going to grab some things from the writing arm too. These can be done at the same time or interchangeably, because one feeds into the other!
So for this post:
We all need a plot. When we need the plot is the debatable part. One of NaNoWriMo's catchphrases is "No Plot? No Problem!" and that has been a key question many pantsers have asked for years.
Every story has, at its basics, a story. The story involves taking our characters from that point 1 to point 30 in the AOOA post, which are just events that happen.
That sequence of events, in the familiar cause-and-effect way, is the plot.
Some people need all of those events in order before they start writing. These people have been called various things through the writing community. The terms “architect” or “plotter” are just two of them.
Some people like to learn about the sequence of events while writing their first draft. These are our “discovery writers” or “pantsers”: they write by the seat of their pants. They go in blind, only having a small inkling of what sort of path the story will take.
Then there’s the middle road : the “plantsers” or “points on a map” writers. They have basic plot points down - say, inciting incident, climax, break into Act Two - but they allow the story to take them throughout the rest.
But no matter what path you take, if you want to start looking at where to start finding your plot, ask one question of your idea:
What do your MCs want?
Your plot lies in there. I promise you it does.
By knowing the reason behind what your character wants, you’ll be able to determine the events that they cause and that cause them to do things.
Another important question to ask is:
Who/What is my Big Bad and what does s/he or it want?
Landscape, emotions, and people can all be the main problem standing between your characters and what they want. How they interact and play off of each other really is the conflict of your story, which helps underscore how the plot is going to play out.
So, even if you are not a planner (and Erin will cover planning, I promise), look at how much you pantsers have for plot from just two questions?
If you’re up for more questions to figure out, like sub plots or B-stories, you can ask:
What do your minor characters want?
Sub-plots make the pages turn. Whoever the MCs meet want something. Sometimes these wants will affect the MC’s want.
Sometimes it makes it easier for the MC to get what they want.
Sometimes it stands in the way of what the MC wants.
Think of some of your side characters that are going to cause issues (or help!) the MC and how they could add some of the Act 2 troubles.
This is just an abridged version of what is in the Prep Book and there are thousands of places to look for even more information!
Here are some links to plot structure for those interested in continuing. They will talk about the Three Act Structure (in screenwriting), the Witch’s Hat (Freytag), and plot skeletons.
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
Anatomy of Story by John Truby
Story Engineering and Story Physics by Larry Brooks
Wired for Story by Lisa Cron
Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland
Helping Writers Become Authors: www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/
The Write Practice: thewritepractice.com/
Specific Plot Structure Ideas (besides AOOA or in conjunction with):
Dan Harmon’s Story Circle: blog.reedsy.com/dan-harmon-story-circle/
3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapter: byomentor.com/2019/05/20/the-3-act-9-block-27-chapter-method/
Save the Cat!: www.jessicabrody.com/tag/save-the-cat/
Answer at least the big main question: what does your MC want?
If you slide further on the planning scale, start to answer some of the others!