Prepping for Nano – Oct. 20

So of course, having given myself permission not to prep, I did stuff. Mum would be proud*.

I’ve deepened my plot sketch by a level. What does that mean? Since I’d rather blog than prep, I’ll explain!

I always start off with a list of vague points for each story section/chapter. Before I even begin the outline, I will know the beginning and the end I want to achieve**. Knowing the ending means I can throw all the necessary bits inbetween. So I come up with a quick outline, or plot sketch. Here’s a sample:

  1. the main character does something
  2. all hell breaks loose
  3. MC runs away
  4. running away doesn’t help
  5. MC confronts danger
  6. MC gets ass kicked, but figures out what’s going on
  7. MC escapes danger, gathers resources & goes back
  8. MC kicks ass, end goal is achieved!

This would be my primary plot outline; a quickly dashed off set of notes. Lots of people leave it at that, for more spontaneity. Hahahaha. I’ve tried that; not fun, and I ended up using precious writing time during nano to beef up my outline.

Knowing I need more, I go a bit deeper. I do this by asking myself questions like, ‘what exactly did the MC do to cause chaos in the first place?’. If I don’t have a clue, I’ll start at the end point. ‘How does MC kick ass?’ ‘What is the end goal?’ and work backwards.

Once I have a slightly more detailed outline, I leave it alone. Any more fiddling, and I could lose interest in writing the story. Too much outlining can feel like I’ve written the dammed story already, and I actually want to get this sucker done! Also, by letting it simmer, I can give it a quick look later, and see if it still resonates for me; if something sticks out as a bad fit, I can fix it then.

This year’s plot, being an older nano I want to finish, is fairly easy; I already know the ending, most of the middle bits and have a very clear idea of where I’m starting because I did the basic plotting (and a huge chunk of the writing) in 2008.

Of course, going into the deeper level after all these years has added new elements. I’m not the same writer I was back then*** and I have an altered vision of how the ending will occur. I want the same general results, but with a different perspective.


*Well, probably not. She’s still stuck on the ‘real writers publish’ thing. Meh.

**Me writing without knowing this ends in disaster. And by disaster, I mean pages of the MC drinking coffee while I describe what she sees out the window, because I have no idea where to go. I’ve learnt that if I don’t know how the story ends, I should pick a different story to write; it saves me lots of headaches and allows incomplete ideas more time to form.

***And I thank the universe for that! Nothing against 2008 Me, but she sure had a lot to learn.


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