Yesterday, I did an unthinkable thing – I completed the plotting of Unearthing Magic.
But this didn’t happen without hiccups along the way.
The first thing I encountered was trying to think in terms of scenes. After all Save the Cat is about screenplays, so of course it’s looking at scenes. This meant, if I used Snyder’s method, that I would include on my post-its:
- Setting (interior, exterior, one per scene)
- What happens (short sentence)
- +/- (The emotional change)
- >< (the conflict, every scene has one)
|My initial introduction of the characters, Snyder's way|
I got about fifteen post-its in, laboring on each one for fifteen minutes or more over the course of two or three days. It wasn’t working for me, so I took a step back because one of my life’s lessons has been; people think in different ways, even if they are good at the same things.
~You see in college, I had a friend who was a Chemist, like me. We took the same classes, studied in the same group, and got the same grades, until we hit the mandatory programming class. The language doesn’t matter (Fortran77 is you must know), what does was the fact that I breezed though (creating programs on the side), while she struggled. Turns out my brain can think like a computer, but hers couldn’t.~
So instead of continually bashing my brain against Snyder’s method until I plotted the whole thing, I looked at the result that was desired – a series of steps that could be followed to be expanded into chapters of a book that moved through a plot progression – and tried to come up with my own method for getting there. Then *BAMN!* I remembered something I did during NaNo 2011:
- To ensure I didn’t lose the flow of the story when I had to stop, I tries to always write a sentence or two, summing up my thoughts on where things were going. For Example:
"<In which Rachael and Michael deliver Transium to Terra Firma 2 and Rachael is waylaid by a couple of UCPA authorities, who quickly realize they are in over their heads.>"
Okay so it worked as a word count booster, but more importantly it helped with the flow because I ended with 82k words (compared to my 53K of NaNo2010). It was time to see if it’d work for pre-plotting.
|The character introductions, my way|
Clearing my board of plot (keeping title and log line), I started fresh, using sentences beginning with “In Which”. I had to do a little rewriting at one point because I picked the wrong colors to do Point of View in, but then it started to flow. I mean really flow – suddenly in two or three sittings I’d reached the mid-point. And then in two or three more I’d cascaded to the finish line.
Now, my work isn’t done. I’ve already spotted some potential weak points and are thinking about rearranging the view point order (Blue and Green are the two foreign Princes, and Purple is the farm girl). Plus who knows what the story will do once I actually start writing it. But maybe, this time, there might be more of a plot than Rachael and company in the Nueri gave me for NaNo2011.
The next step – to do a little more characterization on my main characters. So who would you like to see answer some Beautiful People questions first:
- Lori – the farm girl who finds out she a magi, from the country that suppresses magic use
- Travis – heir to the throne of the neighboring kingdom and an average magi
- Andrew – the older brother of Travis, who lives in Lori’s country and isn’t a Magi
- A random supporting character, protagonist or antagonist.
:} Cathryn Leigh