Writing Tips for Budding Writers – Plotting
While these writing tips have assisted people I’ve coached, I do not offer any guarantees. I merely hope it might help stoke the fire burning within and get you started on a writing journey.
This week we’re going to begin shaping the story into some semblance of order. Yes, we’re still in the pre-writing stage but we’re learning valuable lessons. I follow a very similar routine to that which I’m sharing with you even now. Yes, I’m aiming these posts at budding writers who haven’t had the nerve or the wherewithal to try writing their own stories, but the procedure works no matter where you are on your writing journey.
There are two types of writers, plotters or pantsers. A plotter is a very organised writer who maps out their story into clear and precise scenes or acts, then sets about writing the story. A pantser (writing by the seat of their pants) leaps in feet first and writes flat out, often jumping about between chapters as ideas occur. I’m a pantser. I’ve tried very hard to be a plotter but something restricts my brain from agreeing with this style of writing. The disadvantage of being a pantser is that much more time is required editing the story you’ve just finished writing to make sure you’ve tied up all the ends. A plotter would have those ends tied up in the plan s/he is following.
Your personality will probably dictate which type of writer you will be. If you are a very organised and methodical person, planning is likely to be your forte. If not, try just writing. There is no right or wrong way to plot your story, do whatever you feel comfortable with, least you lose some of your enthusiasm.
However you think you might write your story, its good to have some idea of the plot. I’m sure while you’ve been playing around with the characters you’ve come up with a few ideas of things that could happen to them. Note all these down now and get thinking about some more. What do those characters want? what is going to stop them achieving those desires? If your story is a romance, you need to come up with things that keep them apart, then bring them together. You need a dark moment which will rip them apart (apparently for ever) before resolving that darkness so they can achieve happiness together. In my story “Time to Bury the Past” I used my military hero’s commitment to his country to provide the dark moment. Kelsey cannot accept Zane has put his career ahead of the wellbeing of his teenage son.
Jot down every thing you can think of which could happen in that story inside your head. Make note of big things and little things, you have a lot of action to fill in even for a 50,000 word story. Throw into the mix accidents, hurts, floods, earthquakes and other acts of God, reason to agree, reason to disagree, lost car keys, broken windows, broken down cars, misbehaving kids, misbehaving parents. Find some secondary characters who might mess things up. You might even have some conversations between your characters. Don’t care if some of these plot lines are crazy or unlikely. They’re only for you to see and its easy to scrap the ones which won’t work for you. Let your imagination go.