Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Author Journey: My plotting method

Since I've been taking this whole writing thing a bit more seriously lately, I thought I'd start a section called "My Author Journey". Here I can share bits and pieces of my experience. I want to have a finished story sometime in 2012 and need somewhere to keep me grounded and watch my progress. I already have two blogs going and don't feel the need to start another one.

I have many ideas for stories to write. All year I've been struggling with which one to focus on. But I've finally managed to be realistic and set my goal to writing first a short story and then either transforming it into a novella or a novellette series. I'm also going with the story that I have the most personal experience in (you know, write what you know and all that). I can't tell you what it's about quite yet. For now I'll keep that a secret. But there is magical realism involved and some thriller/horror elements too, which I'm so excited about!

I thought I'd start by telling you the method I used to plot out the story. My main concern with writing is, once I have an idea, where do I go from there? I tend to start with the idea and then glimpses of scenes periodically pop into my head, interupting my day with brilliance and making me happy :) But where they go and what effect they have on the overall whole is all a muddy...well, mess.

A few months back, I searched the internet to help me with this problem. I found so many different methods of plotting out a story. I tried a few but so many of them ended up feeling like work to me. Here's the one that worked the best for me and really got my creativity going.

C.J. Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets has this article up on the 9 Steps of Plotting Fiction. It's a piece of advice she got while on a message board and she lays it all out quite nicely.

What you do is take a piece of paper, divide it up into nine sections. The top left is your beginning, bottom right your ending. Then you fill up all the squares in certain key ways that help the story move along smoothly and keep the reader engaged. Every square that touches another has to connect to it somehow. I wont explain them all. You can read the article, because it makes so much more sense there. So I have my piece of paper with all these squares on it and now I know exactly what that part of the story is about "A" and what part is about "B" and all the scenes coming into my head have places to go.

I highly recommend if you are writing for the first time and strugging with plotting out a story, to go check out this article! She also has an article on how to write a book in 90 days. But that's besides the point. I don't think I'll be writing a full length book in less than 90 days anytime soon. I'm still working all this out ;)



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