Monday, September 19, 2011

Plotting Tips

It's time to get back to work, and since I'm getting ready to do some plotting on what possibly might become two new Desperation books, plotting seems like a good topic to discuss.

A simple definition of plotting is that it's a road map of your story.  You start at one point--the beginning--and then write your way along a highway of scenes to finally come to the final point--the end.  Many things can happen between that beginning and ending, depending on your characters and where you want to take them.  In romance, we take them from a "first meet" to that "HEA" (happily ever after) that each romance must have.

That "first meet" between the hero and heroine of a romance can be between strangers, adversaries, acquaintances or friends.  Keep in mind that the first sentence and the following paragraphs are what will grab the reader.  The last thing the reader wants to know is either character's life history, so don't worry about telling that now.  Those first few words need to hook the reader into the moment.  It may only be a moment experienced by one character (hero or heroine), so don't be afraid to wait to introduce the other character a few paragraphs or even a couple of pages later.  Just don't let it go on too long.  Those first few pages--that first scene--should contain an "OH, NO!" response between the characters or even within the reader, who sees that there's going to be some trouble up ahead.

My story ideas usually start with one character, then my mind searches for the other character, whose goals will be in direct opposition to him or her.  Somewhere along the line in there, an idea of where the story will start and what the main conflict between those characters may be starts to take root.  It may not remain the same, as ideas start to grow.  Changes sometimes need to be made and will be if needed.

Knowing your characters before starting to plot can be a big help.  When you know them well enough, you'll know how they'll react to each other and situations that might arise.  There are many different ways of getting to know your characters, so stop back in later this week for more.  Until then...
Happy Writing! 

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