Monday, February 4, 2013

Dottie to the Rescue

Dear Dottie...
I know you help writers and I’m hoping you will have some suggestions for me.
I have this great idea, but ... help... what do I do next?
                                                      A frustrated writer


A cry from the writing wilderness. Grin.
Not to worry Dottie is here to help.

First I’m impressed that you have an idea. That’s the most important part. You have some notion of what you want to say.

Now, I’m going to make a huge leap and assume your idea is going to be a work of fiction. That is a make-believe tale that has come from the depths of your creative mind and soul. Probably been there for a bit but has finally broken through and you’ve actually put the idea down on paper or into a new file on your computer.

No matter how you’ve started, it is important that the idea is down on paper. Can’t go to the next step until the idea is out and we can talk about it, work with it and start the process of developing the plot.

Ah, the plot. Here we have the chicken and egg problem. Which comes first, the plot or the character? Do we need a plot first so we can fit the right character into the action, or do we develop a character and then work the plot around his or her actions or beliefs.

Dottie strongly believes the plot needs to come first. But even before you start thinking about the story concept, you need to determine the genre.

So the first question you have to ask yourself is what do you like to read the most? For example if you read nothing but romantic suspense, write in that genre. Dottie loves science fiction and mysteries so if she ever wrote a book, it would be about a murder on a distance planet.

Once you know roughly what your story is going to be about, the next factor you need to think about is how the story will end.
  Who will fall in love and why?
  Who will be killed and why?
  Who will solve the mystery?

Because all those “who’s” become the foundation of the main character.

  Once we know who will fall in love and why, we can start throwing up road blocks for that character to solve. And enough road blocks or problems to overcome and we have a plot.

  Once we know who will get killed or who will find and capture the bad guy or gal, we can start putting obstacles in the way of our protagonist.

And there you have it. Your plot. Dottie knew you could do it.

To recap here are the steps to organizing and starting your plot.

            1 - decide on an idea
            2 - find the best genre for that idea
            3 - decide on the ending of the story
            4 - dream up some wild and crazy complications that your protagonist must                overcome or solve in order for the ending to work

Let me know how your plot works out as I would love to hear back from you.


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