Monday, July 12, 2010

PLOTTING WITH GUEST BLOGGERS (and enter to win!)

This is guest post #4 (in case you’re keeping track!), and yet one more chance for you to win the FIRELIGHT ARC and all those other awesome goodies, so today we have Katie and Sarah Frances from PLOT THIS to keep us company. (And if you missed it, check out SF's big news!)

Of course, those of you familiar with their blog will understand why, even as I type this post, I'm reading each word in a lovely Southern drawl. (I just wanna fit in…and these ladies make it sound so dang cool!)

Plus, just look at 'em, they're as precious as June bugs!

Did I do that right??? No?! Fine, here they are, Katie and SF:


TITLE: PLOT HEADS

Hey there Kim Derting Fans!

Today we are honored to be guest blogging about a subject we are currently wrestling with, and that is PLOT. Lately, we have been poring over websites and blogs looking for ways to effectively structure our novels and have discovered a few gems we'd like to pass along.

KATIE: My favorite way to plot a book remains to follow the guidelines of screenwriters. SF and I have this wonderful link to screenplay structure on the side of our blog that I frequently read. You can read it here. But just recently I discovered this blog and oh what a gem it is! I can't wait to really analyze all the ins and outs of her theory, which, as luck would have it, are related to screenplays as well!

SF: Okay, I do love the screenplay structure website (the first one mentioned), especially when I'm writing picture books. It helps me to divide up my 800 or so word manuscript into three parts and really work on where events occur in the narrative. I find that with a picture book, I can usually summarize the plot in a few phrases, and I write these onto a timeline like the one illustrated on the site. And, then I wiggle the words and pacing around so that it fits into the screenplay structure.

But, when I work on a novel, it's a totally different story (ha! literally!). My novels always start with character, never plot. I write, write, write about my characters and let them be whatever it is they want to be. Until . . . until I have to face the fact that in a novel, there must be some sort of structured plot--you know, stuff's gotta happen. So then, I let my characters act and fail and act again.

This fall, I discovered The Plot Whisperer. The Plot Whisperer's blog posts throughout the month of December 2009 outline a month long plotting exercise for writers with a completed first draft. Going through this thirty-one day process, I was able to nail down exactly what my book was about and where the action lulled. I identified subplots and themes, and I was able to see my novel as something whole and cohesive. One of my favorite things that the Plot Whisperer prescribed was to 1) divide up the book into three distinct parts (a fourth, a half and a fourth--a little different from the screenplay diagram) and 2) read the beginning and then immediately read the end. I think as writers, we often get lazy toward the end of the book and simply tie up loose ends. The end should echo back to the beginning and should be as strong as the beginning.

The Whisperer also believes that there should be a thematic plot as well as a plot full of action and character development. Figuring out what my theme was in my novel was tricky, to say the least, but once I figured it out, I was able to write with a stronger sense of purpose.

So, try these out, and you too can be a PlotHead . . . (ha!)


Great, great, great tips, ladies! I’m seriously checking these links out, because well, who couldn’t use a little help with plotting???

And now it’s your turn, leave a comment and you’ll be entered into the BIG GIVEAWAY!!! It ends July 16th, so don’t miss your chance!

74 comments:

Kate said...

Thanks for the great links! I always love reading other writers methods and perspectives on writing. :)

sithereandread (at) gmail (dot) com

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

ooh, yeah! Help for plotting! I will definitely check all of these links out. I plot to some degree, but a little more help never hurts :)

A Simple Love of Reading said...

Interesting post! Thanks for the links they are much appreciated!

astewart305(at)rogers.com

Kaya said...

Ah! Thanks for the links. Much appreciated.

k_anon@hotmail.co.uk

Jessica @ Confessions of a Bookaholic said...

Great idea using a site like that. Sounds like it's really helpful :)

totalbookaholic[at]hotmail[dot]com

misha1989 said...

Hey! please enter me if its international .Thanks!

Misha
mishamary@gmail.com

Mariana said...

Awesome tips!!!

I'll definitely check these links.

Have a nice day ;)

Christa said...

Thank you! Thank you for plotting advice. Like SF, I have a character, but not always a plot. Or, if the character is direct, a few events I know will happen but it always seems like they're years apart & I need to connect them in a logical way. : ) And, then of course, have the conflict & action & all other important plotty things.

I'm so checking out those links later today (after work, lol).
Thanks
Christa
ambience.of.rain {at} gmail.com

Jamie said...

Great post!....going to check out The Plot Whisperer now!

Anne Royce said...

Well, I don't plot. Unless it has something to do with evilness but I do love reading anything about how authors do their thing.:3

And please do enter me if it's international.
royce_a13 at yahoo.com

Cara said...

Definitely checking out these links. Great guest post! C:

Cara said...

Ooooh, forgot my email. C:

carabee14@gmail.com

Malbebe said...

Thanks for the tips, and goodluck ladies with plotting. :)

cupidgurl411(at)aol(dot)com

lostinbelieving said...

Thanks so much for the links ! I need all the help I can get :D

~Alison
lostinbelieving(at)yahoo(dot)com

Trini said...

This is great info. Thank you ladies!

Trini
abookloversreview@gmail.com

Cass said...

Nice post! Thanks for the tips. Really helpful. :)

cc932005[at]hotmail[dot]com

Laura Marcella said...

Thanks for the links! I'm currently plotting a novel, so these are very helpful!

Katie said...

YAY! I hope some of you can benefit from these. I am *trying* to use them too.

Thanks for letting us hang out over here Kim!

Jennie Smith said...

I love hearing what others have to say about writing. As a teacher I sometimes find that it is hardest to teach those things that some would think are easy... Plot is definitely one of those things!! I will definitely be using these sites to help me!! Thanks for a great post ladies!!

Catie S (Book Bound) said...

Fabulous post ladies!

Blueicegal ♥ said...

thanks for taking the time to help us peepz out, appreciate it! :)

fantasy4eva@hotmail.com

Kailia Sage said...

Thanks for this great post and the links!

God's gal said...

I wouldn't dare miss this chance! And I love the methods! I hope I'm able to incoporate them in my writing as well :)

Jade
legally_write@hotmail.com

Erika Lynn said...

great tips and thanks so much for the links!

Kristen said...

You guys have some great links up there! Thanks for sharing all your tips, definitely a few things to keep in mind when I decide to start writing again.

bookaholic said...

I love reading posts about what writers have to say! This was a very interesting post.

frndz.debas@gmail.com

Plot Whisperer said...

Thanks to Google Alerts, i found this very generous mention. Thanks, ladies. I'm glad to know last year's International Plot Writers Month (every December) helped bring a tighter focus to your story.

The marvels of the internet never cease to delight me!

Victoria said...

Excellent post. It has always interested me in how you wonderful authors go about your work. Great insight. Thanks.

Megan said...

Thanks for this post and the links.

megan.qualls@gmail.com

Diane J. said...

Congratulations Sarah!

Love the links, especially the screenwriter link. I love how the link walks us through movies, step-by-step. I need those steps, pathetic, I know, but they help.

dj1971@comcast.net

Katie said...

wow! 30 comments?! We need to hang out here more often :)

And a visit from the PLOT WHISPERER himself!!!!!!!!

so cool!

Plot Whisperer said...

I'm a her not a him...

Katie said...

Oh dear! Plot Whisperer!!!!!!!! Please accept my apologies!!!

I am the other half of the team - the one that hasn't tried your killer plot techniques yet, but I am hot on your trail and intend to use it soon :)

:)))

Bianca said...

The novel I'm writing now kind of started with the character and not the plot, too!

infinitemusic19 at gmail dot com

Kelsey said...

This is awesome! Very helpful. Thanks!

bkobsessed17 said...

This is just what I needed! Thanks for the links!

Llehn said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Little Ms J said...

Hey y'all! I just need me some corn fritters and sweet tea to go along with your post! I always read your writing with Katie's voice in my head! Great links!

donnas said...

Great post. As a reader its always interesting to here about different aspects and approaches to writing.

Jenny N. said...

Thanks for the great tips. Really helpful if I ever start writing.

Emma Kate "Coops" @ Whats Cracking Coops said...

Oh my GOSH! This is so invaluable, thank you! It is so relevant to where I am right now in starting my second book and also about to edit my first. Great, great, great! Thanks! :D Awesome post.

Emma :)
deltree192@live.com.au

Tasha said...

cool to see each writer's specific methods, they're always so different! thanks for the link:)
Tasha@mysticsoftware.com

Vivien said...

Thank you for sharing with us! It's great to have you guys give us some advice out here in the world. It goes to show you that not everyone can do it easily.
Thanks!

Dwayne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sweet Lady Jess said...

Oh wow! Very fascinated by SF's way of "plotting." Character development sounds like a very good way to start. But like she mentioned, things need to happen and this is where the tricky, and long part start. Thank you again!

-Jessica T.

jessicatapia_afuel07(at)hotmail(dot)com

Hannah S said...

I'm looking forward to checking out those links. Thanks!
Love, Hannah

Sharli said...

I'm not much of a plotter anymore. More like a plot-reader but if I do get back to the plotting I will definitely use some of the magic in those links :P

entrelibros_blog at hotmail.com

throuthehaze said...

Great tips! Thanks for the interesting post :)
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

A Rick said...

ooooh great tips! Definitely something to check out.

EVA SB said...

Thanks for the tips and blog recommendation. I always like to find ways to improve my writing.

eva.s.black[@]gmail[.]com

jpetroroy said...

THanks for the links. Always good to get some help.

jpetroroy at gmail dot com

Jessy said...

Thanks for the tips!

Liz. R said...

I always thought that plotting must be really difficult, but the links seem to be very helpful, so I guess it must not be too bad :P.

KatieDoll said...

Awesome links and tips! I'm absolutely terrible at plotting, so I'm positive that they'll be tons of help.

Samanthajo_322 said...

Awesome links! I always like to get authors prospectives on writing.


Sslager@live.com

Windowpane Memoirs said...

Nice post! Thanks for the tips ;)

Amber Skye said...

Thanks for all of the great tips :)

Lynsey Newton said...

Thank you for the tips, I'm checking out those links now!

kermit4110 said...

Great tips!!! Thanks!

ally said...

Great tips! I'm applying them as we speak *sadly, not plotting a book yet, plotting a college essay :P!*

Nalazul said...

Great tips. Thanks for posting the links.

Lisa and Laura said...

I love the belles! You guys are adorable and also very smart. XOXO

rachelpatrick93 said...

Great ideas! Thanks! (:

Sandy said...

Such great tips and links! I loved this post and I agree about the endings needing to be strong. Its the difference between finishing a book and being sad that you are finishing a book.

Anne said...

I am always looking for info. I am new to the writting thing so the links are awesome

Elana Johnson said...

Awesome! Love Katie and SF -- and The Plot Whisperer. I need to get on over there again, and brush up on my plotting.

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

Thanks for the links, will check them out! Love the title "The Plot Whisperer", how cool is that? :-D

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

Christinabean said...

This has been so interesting! I am not a writer but I love the process of how authors find their way through a masterpiece!

Christina
clderwee at gmail dot com

Elie said...

Great post. The Plot whisperer, what a great name!

Cassay said...

Look at those pretty ladies!

Cassandra C
cassandra dot crouser at yahoo dot ca

ferretvamp14 said...

Great advice! I will be checking those links out!

Cougar said...

G'day..from the fuzzy little wombat...really enjoying all this wonderful information.

WulfLuva said...

Thanx for the advice! I'm struggling with that!

Kimberly Derting said...

I'LL BE ANNOUNCING THE WINNER LATER TODAY... STAY TUNED!!!!!