Saturday, June 27, 2009

Plotting

How do you plot your stories? I figure out what's going to happen to my MC. Usually that's not good. I don't want them to have an easy time of it. They have to plan how to defeat whatever problems come their way.

The pressures of time constraints, force characters to do what needs to be done. My novel Seventy Two Hours is a book that lasts that long. Actually a little longer, because the epilogue happens two months later. You definitely don't want your characters having all of their life to make their decisions. Wouldn't that be a slow moving read?

Put your characters in as much trouble as possible. Ramp up that tension. Tight. Restrain them. Do everything you can to hinder their chances of a happy ending. Your reader will love you for it.

Make sure that all forces work against your characters. That's good reading. And a book worth writing. :)

18 comments:

  1. So true! It's no fun when I figure it out in the first couple of chapters. I love a book that keeps me guessing.

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  2. Good advice, Suspense is key...

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  3. I think the reason YA and middle grade are so popular is that the forces against the main character seem overwhelming, just as they can in real life, but the MC finds strength to prevail. The reader is drawn in by the suspense of a struggle against the odds and satisfied to find hope at the end.

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  4. You are right. The antag in my book is nature. And it makes a powerful bad guy when you are two thirteen year old girls and you are lost in it. :)

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  5. My story has a fair bit of intrigue and secrets. My biggest problem is trickling out the secrets so that they come in a decent stream, which, for the most part, affects my plotting a great deal.

    I like what you said about time constraints--it's so true. If there wasn't any constraint then much of the tension would dissipate.

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  6. Blase, thanks for stopping by. Love your music on your blog.;)

    Lauren, you will filter out those secrets just at that right time. I know. Good to have you back! :)

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  7. Robyn, I plot by having my characters want something, then I take it away or entice them with something "better" that's actually evil. Oh, it's lots of fun!

    But be careful about making things too hard for your characters. This post by Timothy Fish is excellent. You should check it out.

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  8. Thanks Michelle. I'll go there right now. And when I wrote the first draft, I had made things way too hard for them. I had to cut a lot of it and do major rewrites. UGH! :)

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  9. Plotting definitely is something I need to work on. In fact, I think I'll read a book on it when I get back to TX!

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  10. PJ, see I gave you an idea! Where are you anyway? Are you on another vacation?:)

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  11. Plot? What is this plot you speak of? If I'm really lucky, I get to see half a scene to a whole scene in advance. Other than that, I'm discovering the story as I go along. For some reason, this works for me. :D And you're right--the characters should have a hard time getting to the story's end. That's part of what makes the story so interesting. :D

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  12. Danyelle, that is how I wrote Seventy Two Hours. With the new one, I've decided to turn over a new leaf. We'll see if it works. If not, I can always go back to my old habits. :)

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  13. Good advice! I like to give my characters a hard time, lol. :)

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  14. The harder the better, BJ. :)

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  15. Hey, Robyn! Just dropped in to say hello, and to thank you for following my blog. Really like your article.

    Frances
    http://frances-writes.blogspot.com/

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  16. Hi Frances, not to meet you. Come back and visit.

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