So digging into character last week really helped ideas for plot bubble up! Highly recommend that.
Then I sent a doc to my critique group in advance of our September 30th meeting. In it, I gave them a very general summary of my idea–since it was still pretty vague to me–along with the few specifics I actually did know, like the character arc. I also included my brainstorming session which had resulted in a series of questions and a few statements. It was two single-spaced pages of ramblings–so much fun to let loose and just jot anything that came into my mind, whether it contradicted the statements or questions before it or not.
And my group was AWESOME. In the span of about an hour or so, they were tossing out ideas that had my creative antennae humming with excitement! Once an idea was thrown out we’d ask questions about it to see if it would work. Sometimes it did, other times it didn’t feel right or didn’t logically fit with the story line that was emerging. But by the end of our discussion…
I Had a Novel!
Okay, not a whole novel, but a very, very good map for one. For the first time EVER, I have a solid plan before I start writing. I know most of the key plot points. I know the ending. I have an external antagonist–another first for me. I’m elated with what we came up with and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. I never imagined how much fun planning could be.
It’s true that I still have to write the novel. 🙂 And I’m sure some of the plot and characters will change, but having a plan is thrilling. I am so excited to get started–but I’m still not quite ready. I’m jotting down bits of dialogue and other things that come to me, but I am not going to start drafting until I have a more detailed outline.
NEXT WEEK: That detailed outline. I’m looking at a variety of tools and will let you know what I chose and my plot outlining progress.
By the way, if you want the collective genius, it’s possible my group will hire out. 🙂 At the very least, I recommend two of them who co-founded the Plot Doctors. If you have a plot problem, they can get you back on track.