Friday Five: Things I Learned This Week While Plotting
Tuesday, I got back to plotting the YA historical. I’d gotten on a roll while on vacation, and I know all too well how, if you don’t jump back on the wheel relatively soon, it’ll go flat and be that much harder to get spinning again. So I took a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon, and I worked. Those big chunks of time are magic, as I’m remembering, and I felt like I got to new points of understanding for my story and for how I like to plot.
A few things to share:
- Sometimes, sitting and staring actually works. Along with actually letting your brain roam at least loosely over the story possibilities.
- The system of assigning a +/- or a -/+ to a scene card makes you think about a) the fact that story is action and change, together b) which direction you want your hero’s pattern of failure & success to shift in each individual scene, and c) what you’re going to make happen to cause that shift.
- There really is a story reason for every action or event. Be patient and look for that reason (see #1 above). Believe me, you will know when something feels forced, coincidental, or unbelievable. And you’ll know, as you move things around and look at possible causes and connections, when it all makes sense and works.
- This whole Act I, Act II (in two parts), Act III thing is pretty cool. When you move a scene from one Act to the other, you can feel the shift in balance, weight, and power of that moment, the whole story. Once again, I’m remembering how much I worship structure.
- I really do like Scrivener scene cards more than paper index cards. I can jot down all my notes and thoughts, without any space limitations. I can do that jotting by typing, which means I can actually read what I’ve written. I can cut and paste and delete, without inked-up scribbles making the whole card a useless piece of confusion. And I can work with Scrivener’s color-coding, without having to recopy and tear up a card every time I decide that it’s Red, for Daniel’s storyline, instead of bright blue, for Abe’s.