Jul. 22nd, 2012

taleanea: Talea's default user icon. ([p01] Strasse)
I do a lot of things in my writing time that don't look like writing and like working on this current book (Defence). They look like playing, and like nonsense, and like I really should grow up and learn to build a house or something.
But then it all comes together - to my own utter surprise, and suddenly a plot builds itself from all the things I had just played with to avoid the actual work that I was supposed to do.
Yet, in playing, I had done the work.

This time I visited all these themed challenge communities (like [livejournal.com profile] fanfic100 or [livejournal.com profile] 100moods - scroll down the page to to Affiliates to find many similar communities), took three of those 100 prompts tables, mixed them together into another prompt table of 3 words per prompt, and thought they might be really great for short story writing.

Then I finally finished going over my plot arcs and combining them somehow. I intended to next create the big chaptered outline of about 8x8 chapters (or scenes, I'll see), because there are 8 plot points with something important happening per each of the 8 plot arcs of the novel, plus the additional scenes that I might need to help set up some of the later plot points.

I estimated that I'd need maybe about 100 scenes, or chapters, or blocks-of-text-in-which-something-happens. I just wanted to put into these blocks/chapters/scenes the descriptions of the plot points and whatever else that was supposed to happen at that place and time, but suddenly my writing program demanded a title for each scene.

… Titles? But they come last!
Which plot arc each scene will be part of is going to be shown by the scene icons (colored flags), so I didn't need to give them a technical title like "main arc, first plot point", but I still needed a title.

So I looked at what I had played with the whole time - themed challenges - and it clicked: I would use the three totally unrelated words per prompt on my very own prompt list to create weird but probably quite inspiring titles — that of course can later be changed when I don't find a way to incorporate "Amusing Cocktail Mixtures" into my story. But I guess I will find a way. This sounds way too easy.

Some of my titles therefore are now called Invisible rodeo trays and Try the Left Idiot (this one sounds GREAT) or Quick - Market the Scarf! and The Harmless Summer Volcano, or even Pending the Failed Ham. That last one I'll need to change, I fear. Or not. :D

So…
I'm done with the raw outlines. I have inspiring, if weird titles for each scene that will help me to define the setting and some of the starting action, and probably quite a few of the background characters. Which is GREAT, really. This wonderful trick comes into my novel writing blueprint. (For plotting I absolutely need a blueprint, otherwise this process would bore me to death because I wouldn't know where to start and what to do. I've been through this often enough by now and failed by never finishing any of the novels I started no matter how vivid and exciting some of the scene were that I had written. But the outlines never really worked, and then overwhelmed me with all their unclear and boring parts.)

And now that I'm done with the big parts of the set up, I'll go through the outlines again to figure out all the little things that would stop me from writing fast: plot holes, missing characters, missing character motivations, and creating all the many different small villains (oh dear, where to even start?), set up the outer (in this book AFAIK pretty irrelevant) kingdoms, some of their cities and main players, and then throw in all the details that make a world real and exciting and crazy: take the mundane of our world and shake it until we're in Wonderland.

That's my plan for next week.




Some links:

- Dean Wesley Smith: The Writing of “The Smoke That Doesn’t Bark: A Poker Boy Story”
- Plotting shortcuts: [1] and [2]
- ROW80: current sunday's Check-In

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Talea Nea

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