Wednesday, December 27, 2006

PLOTSTORMING

After the new year starts, I'm going to dive into the next book in my USAF PJ series. Over the next week I will brainstorm my plot for that book, a term I refer to as Plotstorming. I'll post this process in case it helps other writers. Each of us have our own methods, and you have to find what works for you, but in the meantime, maybe you'll find something in my method that you can use.
 
Up to this point, I've researched the novel. I always start there. Research is ongoing.
Then I get to know my characters. I usually have to know my characters completely before I can fully engage the plot.
Then I begin to think of the major plot points in the story. I do what is called a scene index. I usually average 15-20 chapters per book, and each chapter usually has 1-4 scenes, three on average. I'll use the story I just turned in to my editor. My scene index looked something like this:
 
C1S1: Manny crashes his parachute. Taken to hospital via helicoptor. Remorse hits him for not telling his buddies he'd given his life to Christ a week prior. He fears for his life.
C1S2: Manny wakes up to find Celia at his side. Surprised she's there because he propositioned her at their best friends' wedding. They talk. She's aloof.
C1S3:Celia leaves the hospital room when Joel returns. Remorseful over being cold to Manny. Amber told her of his conversion but she doubts since her father was a hypocrite.
C1S4: Manny taken to surgery. Celia worries since her husband died in the line of duty as cop. She cares for Manny and doesn't want to because she doesn't want a guy with a dangerous job again, but the draw between them this past year has been strong.
 
C2S1: Manny released to rehab. Gets to know Javier, Celia's son.
C2S2: Celia gets angry because she doesn't want Manny influencing Javier to a dangrous career.
 
C3S1: Bla-bla-bla
C3S2: Bla-bla-bla
C3S3: Bla-bla bla
 
C4S1: Bla-bla bla
 
all the way to C20S3 (or last chapter and scene # when the guy gets the girl and all live happily ever after)
 
Okay so just with that, "C" stands for "Chapter" and "S" stands for "Scene."
 
Sometimes I number is this way, so I can refer to the particular scene:
 
Chapter 1
S1: Manny crashes his parachute. Taken to hospital via helicoptor. Remorse hits him for not telling his buddies he'd given his life to Christ a week prior. He fears for his life.
S2: Manny wakes up to find Celia at his side. Surprised she's there because he propositioned her at their best friends' wedding. They talk. She's aloof.
S3:Celia leaves the hospital room when Joel returns. Remorseful over being cold to Manny. Amber told her of his conversion but she doubts since her father was a hypocrite.
S4: Manny taken to surgery. Celia worries since her husband died in the line of duty as cop. She cares for Manny and doesn't want to because she doesn't want a guy with a dangerous job again, but the draw between them this past year has been strong.
 
Chapter 2
S5: Manny released to rehab. Gets to know Javier, Celia's son.
S6: Celia gets angry because she doesn't want Manny influencing Javier to a dangrous career.
 
Chapter 3
S7: Bla-bla bla
S8: bla-bla bla
 
So there you have it. The way I organize my scenes.
 
Once I have my scenes I decide whose POV it would best be written from, and then I highlight the scenes I plan to put in the hero's POV in blue and the heroine's in pink or some other feminine color.
 
When I'm writing, I also change the color of the font to pink or blue, so I can be sure I'm not headhopping. My publisher likes authors to stick with one POV perscene is possible. With the colors, I know whose head I'm in so to speak. LOL!
 
Okay, I hope this helps someone.
 
As I plotstorm my upcoming novel this next week, I'll post that process. I can't post it right now because I actually have never, ever thought about how I plot since I'm usually a panster. Plotstorming scenes does keep my story from stalling in the middle though.
 
You'll find your way. Until then, maybe my way will kickstart something for you.
 
Happy wriitng!
 
Squirrel

--
~Cheryl Wyatt~ Gal. 2:20 ~Pouring my vial of words over Him.

A SOLDIER'S PROMISE~Steeple Hill Love Inspired~ Jan. 2008

www.scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com
www.LoveInspiredAuthors.com
www.SteepleHill.com
www.CherylWyatt.com

4 comments:

christa said...

Thanks for sharing this. I added it to my notes from our telephone conversation. You have great teaching potential! Happy 2007.

Mommycheryl said...

Thanks for sharing, Squirrel. I outline/plot like that, but I hadn't thought of using the color fonts to remind me of the POV. I'll have to try it. (besides, everything is more fun with colored fonts!)

Patricia W. said...

I tried a similar process for the first time this past Fall and loved it. I can enhance it by highlighting the POV. Thanks for sharing.

Hope Chastain said...

Oh, Squirly, great idea about the pink & blue fonts to keep the POVs straight. As you know from vetting my ms, you could call me Heada Hopper... (pause for groans for anyone old enough to either remember Hedda Hopper themselves or to have seen her on the late late show.) On my edit, I just stuck comments from scene change to scene change to say H's POV, h's POV, etc. But this is better! grin