As writers, we are familiar with the Hero’s Journey as a tool used for plotting a dynamic novel. I’m looking for the “magic” element which will make plotting easy. Okay, stop laughing. Unless you are one of those unnatural people considered a natural plotter, creating a world inhabited by living, breathing characters takes a whole lot of work.
I love GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Deb Dixon.
I love Prescription for Plotting by Carolyn Greene.
I love “Discovering Story Magic” as presented by Laura Baker and Robin Perini.
I admit to falling in love. You can see my dilemma. Which method should I use? Mixing and matching plotting methods is an option I choose. In my last blog, I used the Hero’s Journey as a way of creating scenes.
Once again, I am forced to confess my weakness for charts. That’s my personality. I like things all neat and tidy and placed in a box. It’s my way of feeling a measure of control. You’re laughing again. Stop.
Carolyn Greene suggested creating The List of Twenty. I don’t know her original use for this device. During the summer as I was plotting my novel, I decided to focus on all things Greene, Carolyn Greene. I pulled out The List of Twenty and took another look.
1. Ways your character could disguise him/herself
2. Your character’s personality traits and ways you can show them through props and behavior
3. Obstacles your character must overcome
4. Red herrings
5. What’s the worst thing that could happen to my character
There were thirty-one other items listed on the page.
I did some tweaking and used the list in my plotting. I titled it: Create a List of Scenes Needed to Move the Story from the Opening to the End. It’s a mouthful, but so is the job I’m supposed to accomplish.
I had three columns.
1. Story: External Plot
2. Story: Internal Struggle
3. Story: Developing Romance
Then I went back and added:
4. Theme Thread: The Underlying message inherent in the story.
Within thirty minutes I had a list of forty scenes, and I wasn’t finished. This was the easiest method I’ve ever used.
As eternal optimists, we are all looking for that bit of magic. Please share what you feel works for you.