As promised, this post is dedicated to letting you in on my plotting process. You may share these PLOTSTORMING with other writer friends if you like as long as I get credit. Grin.
Since the book I'm plotstorming (brainstorming a plot for) is part of a series, I have skimmed through my first two books (the first of which is contracted, the second of which is with my editor now, awaiting a verdict of yes or no) to refresh myself of the storyline. I paid particular attention to areas the characters for book three (the one we're plotstorming) came up either "onstage" in the book, or by mention of another character in the first two books. None of this is relevant unless you are plotstorming a series. So from here, we treat this like any stand-alone book.
Now remember everything here is progressive as far as my thought process. What I'm writing down may not even resemble what I end up with, because I may get so far and decide it's not working. So these are just ideas rolling around. When I have a good handle on how I want the book to go, I will start my mess draft. (What I call my rough draft.)
Now remember, up to this point, I already know my characters...inside and out. That's half the battle for me. If you're a plot-driven writer instead of a character-driven writer, this process may not work. Knowing the background of my characters is something that I need to have before I ever begin to plot.
Today's PLOTSTORM for PJ Book 3:
I'm mulling over my opening...as usual! LOL!
Opening Scene: Not sure yet. (How's that for brilliant? LOL!) Seriously, as of today, I have NO CLUE what my opening scene is going to be. I've batted around a couple things, but won't decide on the opening until I know the rest of the plotpoints. I always agonize over my first chapter, and especially my first scene since this is the thing that will hopefully "hook" my readers and help them want to read the rest of the book.
Potential openings: C and A talk B into a makeover since she's lost weight since the hero has been deployed. Heroine loves hero but they're just friends. Heroine is best friends with hero's twin sister, who is recovering from a brutal assault. Twin moves to the town of my story setting with heroine as roommates.
Heroine has double motivation: She wants to help her best friend recover emotionally and physically from a sexual assault which occurred in book 2. Her other (hidden) motivation though, is to be near to the hero more often, since his USAF Pararescue team's home base is now in Refuge. (Setting of books one and two).
I always ask myself what I want to accomplish with the scene. I must have at least three reasons (Thanks to Margaret Daley for that great idea www.MargaretDaley.com ) for a scene being in a book or I cut it.
What I want to accomplish with my opening scene:
-Hook reader from sentence one. I'm HUGE on perfecting that first sentence and spend a ton of time and energy coming up with it.
-Introduce my hero and heroine. I think it's very important in romance to get the two main characters intro'd as close to the front of the book as possible.
-Hint to reader about characters' goals. (hint: this has to be more than the romance of a girl getting the guy and the guy pursuing the girl.)
-Hint at heroine's motivation and internal struggles(2 separate things) so I endear her immediately to readers. No backstory dumps.
-Endear my characters to reader. There is a gazillion ways you can do this. I often do it by letting the reader glimpse through dialogue, etc, something sad in the character's past, or something they're dealing with right now in their life that evokes emotion and sympathy.
-End scenes and especially the chapter with a killer hook.
Okay, more tomorrow...or as soon as I get more in my brain.