Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Plot Thickens (but hasn't quite gelled)

I have a novel idea that seems to be going somewhere. We'll see. For me, it's all about finding the characters. If I get a few really interesting characters, and I can put them in an interesting situation, then the plot flows pretty naturally. That being said, I'm going to put more work into plotting this year. Last year I had a mathematical rule for the character interactions—that made for a really intriguing experiment, but the plot never quite happened.

So this year I have a heroine that I like, and I have a setting to explore with her. Now I need to develop a few plot points.

Incidentally, my method of fleshing out characters is taken from Chris Baty's book No Plot? No Problem!, which is a distillation of his experience on how to successfully make it through National Novel Writing Month.

The first bit of advice is to make a list of people that you would like to spend some time with... say one or two hours every day for a month. For me it's usually friends that I am out of touch with. To a lesser extent there's sometimes a celebrity or two on the list... usually a writer of some sort. Once I've got that list together, I start smashing the personalities together until I have some hybrids that intrigue me. I then start asking myself basic questions about their lives and personalities, until I have a pretty good notion of what they're like. Chris Baty's particular questions deal with gender, age, jobs, relationships, home, hobbies, recent past, and values. I find that as I start answering these questions, connections among the characters begin to form, and those start to lead to plot ideas. Like I said, this year I intend to put a bit more effort into plotting to see if I like where that takes me. Mind you, my good friend nerkymarg wrote her debut novel with no plot in mind at all, and you'd never know it, so there's something to be said for Chris Baty's approach: no plot really is no problem.

Today's writing totals:
Journal:1,220 words
Blog: 351 words
DAILY TOTAL: 1,771 words


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