Dear Mom and Dad and Tootles,
I hope you’re all doing well. As for me, my brain is spinning with all the plot planning we’ve been doing here at camp.
This week we learned that characters must be motivated by their wants. The best wants are ones most readers can relate to: gaining or losing a love, obtaining a certain ambition, seeking out justice, saving a life, seeking revenge, or accomplishing a task that at first seemed impossible.
My job as a writer? To keep my characters from getting what they want by creating conflict. Hmmm....creating conflict. Shouldn't be a problem for me!
Coach Sol gave us other hints of things that readers like (and remember, I’m trying to consider my reader, here!). Things like enemies being trapped together, or a scene in which we experience a character’s embarrassment or fear. Surprises are always great reader experiences, as are new obstacles or unforeseen confrontations.
Wooh! To keep my plot moving forward I need conflict. Coach said that the secret to creating conflict in scenes is to give your characters different scripts. Like actors in a movie, their agendas need to be different. They need to want something badly enough that they don’t—or can’t—run away from their situation or their opposing character.
Well I’m taking plenty of notes because my brain is just about fried. I know I won’t have all this right on my first draft, or even my first book, but I’m looking forward to persevering…and planning!
How do you create a great plot? What inspires you? How do you look for conflict? Are you an outliner or a pantser (write by the seat-of-your-pants)?
Another great book on plotting is Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell.