17 November 2008

Plot Tips for NaNoWriMo Writers

30 days hath November.

I fear pulling out my tricky little formula for determining the parameters of your story. Before you groan in disgust, I know, I know. Horrors that I deem it necessary to reduce the creative process to a mathematical equation. Hey, I'm just trying to help. You want to get to the end of the month with some semblence of a story, don't you? I don't expect those natural born story tellers would visit this site anyway. But, for you writers who are looking for tricks and tips to keep you on track during your month-long journey toward completing your novel or memoir or whatever, try this.

According the 1/4, 1/2, 1/4 rule for the Beginning, Middle and End respectively, you left the Beginning (1/4) of your story around the 7th or 8th of the month. By now, you are deep in the Middle of the story world itself.

In about 5 days or so you'll reach the highest point in your story so far -- the Crisis (3/4 give or take). Therefore, you are smack dab in the middle of or quickly approaching the quicksand of the territory of the antagonists.

Identify what the protagonist is after, wants, desires, is fighting for. Use as many antagonists as you want to interfere with her achieving her goals and to build tension. When we are under the most strain and stress and conflict do we reveal who we really are. Same with your characters.

Adversity does not build character.
Adversity reveals character.

Get the energy of the story moving higher. If you've fallen in love with your characters and are resistant to place them in danger, think again. You're creating a story, not hanging out with your best friend. No one said this was going to be easy. Amp up the tension. Get out of her head and into scene. Show us emotion.

Show us who the character really is. Get her moving toward the Crisis -- a breakdown, dark night of the soul, or the Climax of the antagonist. Make it exciting.

No matter what, keep going. December is National Plot Writing Month. We'll shape your words into a compelling story then.
Are you still writing? Did you start strong only to find yourself wavering now? Still hanging on? Is the tension rising?