10 November 2011

Plot for Pantsers

Question via Twitter:
@plotwhisperer So what's the best way to plot as you write for those of us who are pantsers but need to meet deadlines? :) @JillKentAuthor Jillian Kent

Answer via Blogger:
Your query is a bit like hearing two non-harmonious sounds clash together -- Plot and Pansters.

1) Every story, whether written by a plotter or a pantser, must fulfill basic needs demanded by a reader -- something must happen (dramatic action plot) to someone (character emotional plot) in a meaningful way (thematic plot) = PLOT -- the noun. Thus, whether you plan it out ahead of time or write to discover as you go, your ultimate goal is to fulfill these basic requirement.

My first suggestion requires discipline so I am reluctant to use it. Somewhere along the line in history, discipline went from having at its core disciple to being a form of punishment. "You will be disciplined for breaking the rules."

So instead, why not apply the word ritual to what I suggest. Create for yourself a sacred ritual.

One time a day, everyday, preferably at the same time and place every session, write.

Another time of day, everyday, preferably at the same time and place every session study plot.

If you're a pantser, you'll like balk at lots of what you read both for how the information is presented and for the information itself. Lots of it will feel confusing and jarring, counter-intuitive.

Search for doors you're drawn to open when it comes to the new plot ideas. Explore the concepts. Look for them in your favorite books. Determine what authors you admire do to create in you admiration for their writing. The more you understand basic plot and structure based on the Universal Story, the more inclined you may become to plot -- the verb.

The more you understand the Universal Story, the less blind you fly. You're able to anticipate where your writing is taking you and take an active role in coaxing what comes into a pleasing form for the reader.

(Disclosure: the following is a shameful act of taking advantage of the sincere query above)
I wrote The Plot Whisperer book for women just like you, Jillian. Lots of my very best friends and family are right-brain, big picture creative, female pantser. Women who fly by the seat of their pants as they are constantly attempting to bring to material form the whimsy their imaginations whisper. I wrote the book for them and for you...

For more support about plot:

***I am giving away 4 free autographed copies of the book AND
and a Scene Tracker Kit.

To enter, simply comment on each of fourteen blogs that took part in the mega-blog book tour
and listed on the Master Schedule. As one writer says of the experience: "I feel like I just took in a 2 hour writing workshop in a few minutes." (when you have accomplished this feat, send me an email with your snail mail address and I'll ship your plot tools)

For more about the Universal Story and writing a novel, memoir or screenplay, visit Plot Series: How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay? on YouTube. A directory of all the steps to the series is to the right of this post.