The Plot Thickens…

Orange Juice by Andreus

Orange Juice by Andreus


The ideas are churning inside that marvelous mind of yours. Your fingers itch to get to that notebook or keyboard so you can hammer out your 30 minutes every day! You know your goals and you know you can do it! Congratulations!!

I’m going to suggest that you do a little bit of plotting in advance. While this really is sort of “outlining” – it can be as structured or unstructured as works for you! And, you can incorporate those important character sketches – if you’re working on a novel – at the same time!

If you think of any movie, play, or novel that you really enjoyed, I’ll bet I can say “three-act play” and you know what I mean!

I. Everyday life/Call to Action (Dorothy is on the farm in Kansas – then there’s a storm – oh my! )

II. The journey toward the goal (She’s in OZ – all sorts of things happen)

III. The goal is realized – or we know why it can’t be (She understands significance of “home” – gets there and dream is revealed)

So save yourself a little time and do TWO things before you get too far into your writing:

1) Write down what you know about your characters, both physically and internally. Why do they do what they do? What are their goals? What is their biggest fear? What will stop them? You need to know what makes your main characters tick, including your villain if there is one in your story structure. They will not be three-dimensional if you don’t do this and readers HATE flat characters.

2) Do an outline or plot line. An outline will contain a lot more detail than a plot line will. I have graduated from being a “pantser” (writer who writes by the seat of their pants) to being an author who is comfortable developing a plot line.  I enjoy watching my stories, articles, novels unfold as I write, but it isn’t efficient for a freelance writer to just “let” the stories develop as they might. I do a plot line – I know where my story starts, I can see some of the scenes that will be important for character and plot development (and readers) and I can see the resolution or goal achieved. And, then I write from point A to point B, point B to point C and so on.

Now, you know your goals and you’re training yourself to write every day. Armed with all that, you now will know your characters well enough to write with them every day, and by having some idea about the goal of your story (or article) you can write efficiently toward – THE END!

If there is any step that I believe you should invest a dedicated week or so to, this is it! And if you want to learn more about GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict, you can purchase the Deb Dixon book by the same name. (Or attend the March 2014 FWA meeting in St. Augustine where Elizabeth Sinclair will be teaching it in person!)  I suggest that book for anyone who is serious about fiction writing!

And to be honest, I apply the tenets to my non-fiction writing, as well. If I know the GMC of my audience, I can write to it with much more passion and power!

Keep reading and writing! Nancy Q.



About NL Quatrano

Award-winning author, speaker, editor and ghost writer, Nancy owns a full-time editing, writing and specialty publishing business: On-Target Words/WC Publishing. Volunteer/member of professional writing organizations including Florida Writers Assoc., Sisters in Crime, and AWAI. 2010 Professional Woman of the Year by the NAPW. Linked in Editor Pick May 2013. International Women's Leadership Association nominee for Outstanding Leadership 2014.
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