"God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform..." William Cowper

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer Session #4: Let's Get Planning!


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!

Love,
          Your Conflict-Lover


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.

12 comments:

  1. This is too much fun! I tend to make sure the major plot points (including conflict) are sketched out before I begin the first word, but I have been surprised as I'm writing and better twists come to me.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. I love that inner writing brain that surprises us now and then!

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  2. I'm loving these letters. I'm an outliner, who writes romance - therefore I already know the outcome of the story. I do, however, plan some major plot points in the story and then make a list of the smaller bits of conflict or turns in the story that will propel the plot. Beyond that, on some stories, I do a chapter by chapter outline and on other stories I don't. But I know, for sure, that I need to have lots of conflict!

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    1. Isn't it so fun making trouble, Cindy? ;)

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  3. Such cute posts in this series! :)

    And I'm an outliner all the way!! I break out into cold sweats just thinking about being a pantser. LOL

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    1. LOL! So funny, Lindsay! I don't blame you one bit!

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  4. I love how you shared what you're learning through a letter! Too cute! I generally know my major plot points and twists before writing. Many of my scenes to get to those points are discovery for me and the characters. I can always fix it in editing if I need to!

    I popped over from Lindsay's blog. :) Nice to meet you!

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    1. Hi Jessica! Thanks for stopping by!

      I love the discovery process too, and knowing editing is in sight allows for that creativity, doesn't it?

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  5. I'm a little of both. I love having a general outline so that I know where the story is going, but I go where my characters lead within the scene. If I find that the new path is better than the one I originally planned - then I go for it! I write historical fiction and I'm inspired by real people in real places. I'm inspired by architecture and by things that transcend time - like thunderstorms, sunsets, and rivers.

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    1. So neat, Gabrielle. The very same things inspire me. I love taking a real story from history and writing about it. :)

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  6. Ah conflict. I think I tend to throw a bit too much of it at my characters sometimes. I'm pretty sure they're ready for a break, lol. Great post, Heidi!

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    1. That doesn't sound like a bad problem, Sarah!

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