Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wizardry Writing Wednesday #9 by Wizard Lexiconi - The Plot

Hello again, young scribes. I do hope your holiday was blessed and your buttons didn't pop off your britches. 

The frogs and I went up to the Castle and joined the Royal family in their feast. It was a grand time, until the dragons decided they wanted to be in charge of tree decorating. We skedaddled quick, let me tell you. There is still a cloud of smoke hanging over the castle towers. I'm sure it'll clear eventually and I hear they found another tree to replace the charred one. 

That's what happens, friends, when you let dragons get too close to combustible materials.  

Well, now for today's lesson. 

Now that you have your story idea in mind and have developed your main characters, including the good guy, the bad guy and any supporting characters, it's time to plan out how your story will flow. 

Not everyone likes to plan out stories. Some, called "seat-of-the-pants" writers love the thrill of discovery. To know what will happen next in the story kills the desire to keep writing. For them, writing is like reading or seeing a movie for the first time. They are glued to the keyboard eagerly anticipating what will their characters do next. 

THE PITFALLS: Such writers generally have more editing and rewriting that needs to be done afterward. They also risk running down boring rabbit trails, unnecessary story plots and dead ends they can't figure how to get out of. However, there is very little that can't be fixed. 

If you think you fit this description, then it's best to just sit down with a basic outline in your mind and write, write, write. Don't worry about deep editing or fixing until you've allowed the story to pour fourth however it comes out. Have fun with it.

Then there are the "Plotters" who look at their story like a big jigsaw puzzle that they need to piece together. Some go to extraordinary lengths to plot out their stories. 

You might start with a simple plot line like this: 

The exposition is your introduction where you introduce the character and the story problem. From there, the rising action consists of the problems your character faces, the defeats and the achievements. The climax is that moment your character will either triumph or die trying. Then the following falling action and resolution is the wrapping up of all the small plot threads you've created in your story. 

Another option is the storyboard, pictured below. I like having a visual not only of where my story will go, but pictures of my characters, as well. 

Beware, this does become a bit tedious and time consuming. However, if you really want your story to come alive for you, this helps a lot. 

PITFALLS: Some people plot out their story so much, it looses its flexibility. More often than not, I can plan, but them my characters decide to take another option. Don't be afraid to let your imagination run away. You can always reel it back in if needed. Sometimes, you'll find out information you didn't know and it makes your story so much better. Don't get stuck in the plotting so much you lose your creativity

Well, that's a good place to start for now. There are other ways to plot and you can do an on-line search for graphs and such. Keep it simple, silly. Don't be a toad about plotting out your story or it may never get written. 

Happy Writing, friends.
Let your imagination weave some wacky tales. 
Wiz. Lexiconi, Sr. Mage 1st class: Fabulist extraordinaire. 

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