Well, technically, yeah. You need a plot. You know the whole character wants something and can’t get it and tries multiple times until he succeeds? Yeah. That.
Recently I experienced an epic total pantsing failure.
I tried. Honestly. I said, okay, I have an idea. I have a title. I’m just going to go with it. I wrote 6 chapters. And though there are some funny moments, touching moments, and okay dialogue – it was missing a backbone.
My story was a gushy, mushy, gelatin-like substance with nothing solid to hold it together. But I still had my idea and my title.
So I started plotting. And it was as good as eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream.
How I plot:
- I open a document and start free writing a bunch of What if and What then questions.
- I let it sit a couple days. I research. I let my brain work on it while I do other things. I dream. I think about the story I would want to read.
- I go back and pull out what sounds good. I write a logline. And then a paragraph summary. And I build from there. This might change drastically over the course of the story. My first idea is never my best.
- Then I’ll work out the structure according to the 3 acts. Inciting force. First act climax. Middle of story twist. Dark moment. And then I build scene by scene toward the climax.
- And I’ll write a scene by scene outline.
- Finally, I start writing the first draft.
Does my outline change? Yes. And I adjust from there.
Constantly through out the outlining and writing I ask: How can I make this scene bigger or better? How can I make things worse for my character? How can I add emotion?
Click on the banner to find out how other writers plot! How do you plot? Any tips or tricks? Plotter or pantser? Share.
Have you entered my magnficent middle grade give away?