Monday, October 24, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Plot and Conflict

The count down is on. One week left before your sprint to 50K begins. Are you ready?

If you're like me, then the answer is, well, not quite.

You see, I've been going through my story files and it's taken forever to narrow the choices down to THE ONE.  But now that I have THE ONE, I'm looking at it and all I have is a blurb about the main character and a couple of scene ideas. Which means I'm so not ready for NaNoWriMo.

What to do? What to do?

The answer:  PLOT & CONFLICT

To succeed at NaNoWriMo, you need to have at least a general outline of the book's plot. Just to know where the story is going. This outline is not set in stone. In fact, it will probably take some twists and turns you weren't expecting as you write and get to know your characters better. But believe me, that general outline is a life saver when you're getting ready for a word sprint, but you aren't sure where the next scene needs to lead you.

I did some Googling and found some excellent resources to develop plots for NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo Prep: Plot Development and Profile Worksheets, Visualizing Collage and More by Iconclastic Writer
  • This blog post has AWESOME worksheets you can download for free. Isn't free such a happy word?
Tools to Help You Plot Your NaNoWriMo Novel by Jennifer Blanchard @ Procrastinating Writers
  • On this blog post, you'll find a bunch of different plotting techniques, including using index cards & the fabulous Larry Brooks Story Structure series.

Now, on to conflict - the wonderful device that drives your story. This is when you call up your writers group and host a brainstorming session. Write down gobs of conflict ideas - both internal and external. Josi Kilpack once said (and I'm totally paraphrasing & adding some of my own words - but it's her concept) that you need to put your character up in a tree. You start off by throwing rocks at him, then even bigger rocks, until you bring in a catapult and launch boulders at the poor sucker. Bring in the soldiers and shoot arrows at the dude. And just when you think he might surrender - set the tree on fire!

Conflict, Conflict, Conflict.

That is what you need to keep your story moving, flowing, and interesting. And if you need some inspiration, check out this sweet little puppy.



Now, I need to get moving on my plot outline and call some friends to set up a brainstorming session. How's your plotting going? Are you ready?

4 comments:

Rebecca H. Jamison said...

I love the analogy about throwing rocks at our character from Josi Kilpack. It made me realize that I'm being too easy on my characters. Thanks for the help!

Canda said...

Thanks for the great ideas for NaNoWriMo prep. I didn't do enough last year and kind of fizzled out midway.

Donna K. Weaver said...

That's for all the great information and links.

And I love that video. Talk about a cute dog. The little puppy grows while attacking the camera just made my day.

Rachelle said...

Great ideas! I went through some of my notes from Dave Wolverton and he said to make sure each character has their own conflicts. They don't all have to be huge, but things need to be happening to them too and it can be tied into the main character's dilemmas. This has really helped me in my current WIP to keep the storyline moving.
Good luck brainstorming!

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