Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Novel (writing, that is)

I went to bed last night thinking that N is for Neighborhood. I visualized an entire Neighborhood of writers. Woke up thinking “there’s no way we could all live together” so I’ve changed my topic to novel--as in writing tips.

I have so many ideas floating around in my head these days, I just want to get them on paper. I thought I’d share how I go about it. Below is what I put on the first page. I want to keep these things in the forefront of my mind. I think this ABCDE info came from Anne Lamott.

ACTION:

BACKGROUND:

CONFLICT:

DEVELOPMENT:

END


Here's my Note to Self:
I need characters that are larger than life; a heroine who can fight for herself and still be likeable. The story should be filled with emotion and the plot must be plausible with motivation and conflict.


Then I lay out the potential novel like a three-act play and I start filling in the info which makes it a lot easier than you might think. Basically, this is brainstorming with yourself.

Beginning: (I jot down notes, my hook, motivation, hero/heroine’s goal, the problem, anything to do with the opening.)

Middle: (A few notes will grow the the middle. This is the most difficult for me. I list any obstacles or complications my characters face; sometimes scenes begin to form. I jot them down even though they’re vague.)

End: (Last quarter of the book. How it ends, the black moment. Have the characters changed? How? Anything I know about how the novel ends.)

When I go to bed at night, I “play” my story in my head and watch it until I fall asleep. Usually, I have new ideas/scenes the following morning:

If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I need structure and specifics to keep me on the right path. I have several completed novels that I’ve written SOTP (Seat of the Pants) and they STILL have problems. Sometimes I’ll cut and paste the publisher’s guidelines on the page to keep me on track. As I develop the story, it spills onto page two, page three and page four. I love seeing the story grow.  The other day I came across a great plotting device by author Linda Goodnight. Check it out HERE, click on For Writers then, Plotting In A Circle.

Do you have any novel plotting tips to share?

5 comments:

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Your method is a bit like mine. I've tried "SOP" as well and I end up with too many holes. It was a good exercise for me, but I'm so type-A I do better with a road map!

James R Tate said...

I'm reminded of a Richard Pryer stand up routine from my teen years. He said he had a friend who always wanted to be in on the converastion so he would make up a joke as he went along. It starts out with, "There were these two nuns. Yeah, Yeah! And... and they were in a bar! Yeah". I can't go on with the joke, but you get the idea. I just plot as I go, weaving the story as I feel it. Not very scientific, I know, but it's what I do. I don't really want to know where the story is going until I get there.

Jan Rider Newman said...

Sit down and start writing.

Lynn said...

Sounds like you might want to dig out your copy of Your Book Starts Here by Mary Carroll Moore.

Angie said...

Oh, I love Anne Lamott.