Yesterday, I got a text from Bri saying, I quote, “We need to talk. Having plot problems.” My response: “Are you talking about your Novel in November plot?? because if you are, you are WAY ahead of me in the game!”
Turns out she was… and she is (ahead in the game, that is). And that’s ok! I’ll get there…
The Plot is an essential ingredient to your novel. In fact, most manuscripts rejected by agents are turned down on the basis of one of two major flaws: 1) 2 dimensional characters &/or 2) lack of/confusing/some combo of the 2 PLOT! The pansters among us may gripe, but I fear plot is a must.
Yet let’s face it. For the most of us mere human writers, plots don’t just write themselves. They take agonising, hair-pulling, pillow tossing hard work to sort out! You may, like Bri, have already travelled some steps down the road & found yourself confronted by a grumpy goblin proclaiming “You shall not pass!” (how cheeky of him to steel a line from a perfectly lovely wizard!). OR, you may find yourself in my boots, having not even begun down the Plot road yet, & wondering where to begin! So many roads, so little time in November!
Again, that’s ok! (I’m virtually patting you on the back even as I pat my own reassuringly). Before you can concoct a plot, you need to love your story’s core idea. THAT idea will be your guide & roadmap down the plot pathway.
So depending on where you are, here are some options for your Novel in November preparatory exercises for today:
1) Pin down your “core idea”: Ask yourself ‘what, in 1 sentence, is my story about.’ write that down. Then, write a sentence to a paragraph about all the things you already know & love about that idea.
2) If you’ve already explored your “core idea”, turn it into a dust cover blurb! here’s a link from the better novel project to help you with that!
3) Make a list of your primary characters (including the villain!) & their goals in the story. See any conflicts that could blossom into plot?
If you get stuck or frustrated, you can always visit some of your own favourite books – read their back covers & try to deconstruct the bare bones of their plots. It’s usually simpler than you realise when reading the book!
And don’t forget to have a look at Bri’s post on PLOTS from earlier this week!