Discovering Your Plot

Plot

What do writers want from plot?

What do writers need from plot?

Are those questions the same? Not really.

As wordsmiths, we writers know that want and need are two different words.

  • The want is a circumstance that we writers can control. We want plot specifics to help us craft story and exceed reader expectations.
  • The need is a circumstance of obligations from reader expectations of story. While readers may want the comfort of the genre elements (the tropes), they also wish to have their interest and curiosity piqued.

Can we writers deliver on the expectations and the surprises in order to please our readers?

That’s the involved question that Discovering Your Plot hopes to answer.

This guidebook covers plot structure and the necessities of genre expectations so we writers can anticipate what readers want.

  • It is NOT a list of tropes by genre or even a list of tropes that every novel should have.

It explores the six most common plot structures.

  • It is NOT a list of characters for plot or story. It is not a list of the “17 characters your novel needs” or the “characters used by famous authors”, as listed on social media sites.

It is a detailed examination of the major sections of a novel.

  • It is NOT a word-based or page-based formula of a novel’s structure.

By the end of Discovering Your Plot¸ writers will have the tools to construct a story as well as diagnose problems with pacing, tension and suspense, and sequencing events.

Discovering Your Plot is Book 6 in the Think like a Pro Writer series and the second of the Discovering set of how-to guidebooks for writers at all skill levels. While the approach is for newbies, every writer can benefit from this fresh look at any novel’s framework.

Discovering Characters

One of the hardest things to do in writing

is to create characters that readers will care about,

that will make them have to read on.

Noah Luke

Discovering Characters is like investigating a house we want to buy.

No, I’m serious. Characters have an exterior façade that we comment upon as we drive past. Through the windows we catch glimpses of interior lives.

Even in cookie-cutter boxy cliques, characters have individual characteristics, just as the suburbia ranch houses have their garden plantings and the urban row houses have their painted doorways. These small touches create individual homes in neighborhoods.

Some characters enjoy the bright city lights. Some are loners, nestled against a national forest.  Characters, houses—each have individual personalities. Some are blingie, with the latest décor while others enjoy the comfort of yoga pants and old sneakers.

As writers, we capture these individual characters and save them from the cookie-cutter boxy stereotypes. We delve into interior rooms for glimpses of formative baggage. Finding their backstory is a search through attics and cellars, storage closets and garages. Characters hide their pain and fears, painting them over and adding distracting artwork.

Our job as writers is to find every detail of our characters then use snippets so our readers will see our characters as they drive through our books. We hint at the foundations while opening doors to their plans and purposes.

Discovering Characters is designed to help writers find the exteriors and interiors, public and private. We’ll dig around the foundations and climb to the roof. We’ll explore the open rooms and the storage closets. We’ll peek into rooms inhabited by such characters as diverse as Elizabeth and Darcy, the Iron Man, Aragorn and Frodo, Travis McGee, Medea, Macbeth, and Nanny McPhee.

Five areas comprise this guidebook. Just as characters—and houses—are individual, this info is individual. You won’t need every bit. Dip in and out, skim around. When you reach locked rooms, come back and explore to discover the keys to your characters.

  1. Starting Points ~ offering templates and character interviews
  2. Classifications ~ common and uncommon ways of discovering characters
  3. Relationships ~ couples, teams, allies, enemies, mentors, etc.
  4. Special Touches ~ progressions, transgressions, and transitions for character arcs
  5. Significant Lists ~ archetypal characters and much more

Discovering Characters, with 44,000-plus words, is the second book in the Discovering set, part of the Think like a Pro Writer series for writers new to the game as well as those wanting to up their game.

Discovering Your Novel

What kind of writer are you?  Planner or Plotter?  Pantster?  Puzzler?  Muse Muffin?

Whether you use the mosaic method or a chronological one, whether you outline every scene or let the words flow, the method does not matter.  What matters is the end goal.

So, what’s the end goal with your writing?  Just to write?  To publish?  Fame and fortune?

Plenty of frittery flutter-bys write and write and go nowhere.  As for fame and fortune, those can’t be guaranteed.

However, when your goal is publication, Discovering Your Novel is the guidebook to help you overcome the Sisyphean task of first word to publication.

With the goal of completing a novel in 52 weeks, this guidebook can be self-paced or tracked week by week for persistent success.

  • If you have a half-completed manuscript that you’re lost in, use the Foundations and Visioning sections to work your way out of the labyrinth.
  • If the story’s a mucky mire more like quicksand than a novel you can build on, use the Analysis section to clear away the mud and weeds.
  • Like a long ball of string, the multiple charts will help you keep track of where you’ve been and where you will head next.  Printable charts are available for free at the website address provided in the guidebook
  • When you complete the manuscript, what do you do next?  The sections on Harvesting and Finishing answer these questions as they guide you to creating a professional career as a writer.

Launch your writing journey at your current location on the publishing road—incipient idea or character sketches or story plan or struggling manuscript or completed novel looking into publication.

Track your progress with daily word counts recorded on the charts.

Learn the devices and definitions that pro writers have swirling in their heads.

Maintain the discipline and preparation that keeps pro writers at work, no matter the interruptions.

Writer M.A. Lee meandered along the road of unfinished manuscripts and completed novels with nowhere to publish for many years before she decided to drive to her own destiny.  If you’re tired of gatekeepers and pay-to-play schemes, if you’re weary of elitist traditional publishers and you’re eager to jump on the self-publishing juggernaut, then Discovering Your Novel will give the guidance you need.

Summer Series for The Write Focus

Summer Series ~ June / July / AugustDiscovering Your Novel

All summer our focus is the craft and process of writing.

M.A. Lee shares the various stages of Discovering Your Novel. We look at the Foundations, Visioning, Analysis, and Revision & pPublishing stages that bring a novel into the world.

The Focus for July ~ Envisioning

Time to Envision the whole story we want to tell. We need true clarity in our crystal ball. What do we envision?

7/7 ~ Envision the Plot >> the whole story, not the 7 main scenes. Plot Category with elements; exercises for writing improvement

7/14 ~  Envision the World >> Basic World, Stomping Grounds, Backstory, World Building nuts and bolts

7/21 ~ Envision Secondaries and More >> BFFs or not, foils and obstacles,  minions of evil

7/28 ~ Envision other Characters and Your Writing >> additional side characters, walk-ons and cameos; launch and novel openings, writers’ block and more.

The Focus for June ~ Foundations

6/1 ~ Introduction >> What makes writing successful? The discipline of  work, through persistence, completion, learning craft, and disciplined devotion

6/2 ~ Foundations A: Pick >> story / genre / protagonist / antagonist / tagline or theme

6/9 ~  Foundations B: Sketch >> story / the protagonist’s introduction / the antagonist’s introduction / the setting’s introduction / background

6/16 and 6/23 ~ Foundations C, in two parts: Know >>

Part 1: beginning / the protagonist’s dearest desire / ending/ greatest stress point / the protagonist’s nadir

Part 2: the protagonist’s zenith / early win by evil / final battle / early twist for the protagonist / the betrayal of the protagonist

6/30 ~ Foundations D: Build >> Set us the Manuscript’s foundation: for paperback and ebook / format / MS basics (how to type it), front matter / back matter / the masterbook

Thanks for listening to The Write Focus! Content copyright is 2021, Writers Ink Books.

Write to us at winkbooks@aol.com.

Visit thewritefocus.blogspot.com for more information about The Write Focus.

Listen on your favorite podcast site:

My favorite podcast is Podbeanhttps://eden5695.podbean.com/

Then we have Apple https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-write-focus/id1546738740%20

Spotify will let you listen to all the episodes without your doing a thing to select them. They may be a little out of order, though. 😉  https://open.spotify.com/show/4fMwknmfJhkJxQvaaLQ3Gm?si=0GFku2PbShWXiDhRp7JaDQ

YouTube direct link to the Discovering Your Novel playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXi3M_aM-d7IjuIS4daWlkiT4jRvRmnUM

Visit www.thewritefocus.blogspot.com for show notes about the entire Write Focus podcast. Write to us at winkbooks@aol.com for comments, questions, and speculations.
  • Summer Series :: writing craft
  • April into May focus :: Write a Book in a Month / Writing Challenge and Result
  • Winter series :: Think like a Pro
  • November 2020 :: What’s in a Name
  • Write the Novel / Edit, Proof, Publish
  • What’s Horrifying for Writers (Halloween week)
  • Newbie Mistakes and Notta Mistakes, including the inaugural episode on Oct. 6, 2020.

 

2:14 / Writing Challenge : Write a Book in a Month

We have three rules for our Writing Wonderland.

What makes our writing wonderland possible?

Always remember: writing is a solitary business.

All through April we have a writing challenge. We’re posting daily episodes, less than 10 minutes, with our challenge to *Write a Book in a Month*.

Daily we’ll have a check-in with our project stage, daily and progressing word count, and speculations on writing and the writing business. Process posts, you know! We’ll also give the inspirational quotations that started and ended each writing session.

And lessons in each session!

For today, after *Into Wonderland*, it’s the introduction to Write a Book in a Month by Remi Black.

Here’s a link to the YouTube Playlist for the April Writing Challenge / Podcast Challenge:

Listen on your favorite Podcast site:

https://eden5695.podbean.com/e/

apple podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-write-focus/id1546738740%20

spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/4fMwknmfJhkJxQvaaLQ3Gm?si=0GFku2PbShWXiDhRp7JaDQ

The Write Focus ~ What’s In a Name, 3 parts

What’s In a Name, part 1 ~ How creatives develop names for their businesses along with brainstorming techniques

Listen: Follow the podcast at this linkAired November 11.

Transcript Here.

What’s In a Name, part 2 ~ Pen Names / Select and Maintain

Use the Link under part 1. This episode aired Nov. 18

Transcript Here.

What’s In a Name, part 3 ~ Names for Characters and Titles of Books/Series.

Use the Link under part 1. This episode aired Nov. 25.

Transcript Here.

Coming Up: We’re BookCasting with Think like a Pro.

Or is it Booktubing? Bookpodding? What do we call it?

IDK. We’re doing it, though!