NanoPrep /// Part 3 /// plot (and tea)

6:00 AM

I decided to do this post a bit differently than I have been doing my NanoPrep, since PLOT GUYS. WHAT IS PLOT. HOW PLOT.

Usually I don't have much trouble with plot. I have like, no shortage of issues and things to throw at my poor characters to keep them busier than I can handle. Now that I'm writing middle grade and downing the violence significantly, there's like ... not much happening. O.o

*is very weirded out by this*

(hush. weirded is totally a word.)

ANYWAY. So I'm cruising along (this is going somewhere, I promise.) and I'm trying to think of what I can add to spice things up. Because right now, I've got the characters. I've got the story world. I've got the premise, the magical idea that makes you squeal and giggle and blink butterflies of beauty and happiness.

But ... the plot. It's saggy. I've got a plot line sitting in the form of the Three Act Structure right now, and it's just ... missing something. And so I was surfing pinterest, looking for inspiration, for something to click in my brain and inspire me as to what I needed to add. A person? Another conflict thread? All the prompts on Pinterest are cool, sure, but ... they weren't what I was looking for. They're not making me ask the questions that will lead to the kind of answers I need. No matter what ideas I think of, it doesn't fill in that "Thing" that I'm missing.

So what questions do I need to be asking? That was what I needed to pinpoint, because Pinterest was failing me. #sorrypinterest

Anyway. I don't have it all together. But hopefully through writing this post, I'll inspire you and me to brainstorm a way out of this.

So.





#1: Look at your inciting incident.

The inciting incident is soooooo important guys. If you don't know what this is, YOU NEED TO KNOW. LOOK IT UP. It's basically what sets your story into motion. It's that big THING that happens that disrupts the characters' normal world and sends everything into chaos. It's your story's hook. The concept. For instance, mine is, "A boy gets trapped in the world of dreams." BOOM BABY. In just nine words, I have a bunch to work with. Think about what would happen, and then what wouldn't happen. Keep asking "how" and "why". That deepens everything.


#2: Look at your characters' goals.

I have this weird habit of letting my characters accomplish the goal they had from the inciting incident halfway through the book, and then, in the course of them accomplishing the goal, they're given new goals. Halfway through the story. Not sure why this happens to me, but ... I guess I get tired of having the same goal for a whole novel?

I'm sure that concept has an official name. If you know what it is, TELL ME. I'm going to try not to do this ... eventually. But for now, yeahhhhh no. This kind of has to happen.

You need to make sure your character's external goal is big enough to encompass a whole book. My characters' goals are, "Find Jake" at first, and that is not a big enough goal to fill the whole book. Hence, the goal change midway through. The goal shifts: "Get back to reality." That's a bigger one which will last me to the end of the book. But you've got to make it difficult. It would be good to make lots of smaller ones too to help along the way. As obstacles arise, so will new goals. And goals drive the story.


#3: Don't forget structure.

Another reason why Pinterest wasn't helping me was because, though it game me lots of random ideas, that's all they were. They were not connected to the plot. Therefore, there was no structure to them.

They go to an underwater city? GREAT! Super cool and fun! But how does that help with my plot issue?

They get lost in a forest of clocks? YAYYYYY. Not really helpful.

I know a bunch of things that need to happen, but I don't know how they fit into the structure of the book. And that's really important. Each scene in a book needs to be meaningful in that it pushes the story forwards in some way. So when you're brainstorming ideas, look at your structure. If you see that you don't really have a climax at the end of Act 1, or that your Midpoint doesn't really change much, think of how you can up the importance there and add new elements to heighten their significance.


I hoped these might have given you some ideas?

*crickets chirp*

Ehem. Anyway. Here's a picture of a turtle. Cause everyone needs a picture of a turtle in their life.

he's judging you


And now. You've probably been scratching your heads wondering, what does tea have to do with any of this? I SHALL TELL YOU.

Last year during nano, I had recently fallen in love with Vanilla Chai tea. It's just sooooo good. And so, every night when I went to my room to type away on my cheap walmart iPad keyboard, I would sit with a cup of that tea by my side and sip away as I typed.

I kind of fell out of the Vanilla Chai tea phase for a while. And then, a couple months ago, I saw a box of it sitting on my shelf and I though, Oh I haven't had that tea in forever! I'm going to make some.

And so I did.

And at that first sip, it was incredible. It was like someone had hypnotized me back to NaNoWriMo 2015. I was hit with the memories I made that November, and I was reminded of the beauty of writing the first draft of TC.

And so now, when I edit, when I do anything related to TC, I make a cup of Vanilla Chai tea.

I know you're all probably really confused right now, thinking, "But, coffee? Life blood? Every writer's life drink?" But I do pretty much all of my writing after 9 P. M. Sadly, coffee is not the best thing to drink before bed, and I'm a hard-core super strong fully caffeinated girl.

BUT MY POINT IS. I like to pick a tea. And then that tea is my 'writing tea.' But I make it specific for each project. Since I'm starting a new WIP soon that's completely unrelated to TC, I might have trouble transitioning between the two. So if I work on one this day, and the other the next day, I can make the tea for one this day, and then the tea for the other the next day to help get my mindset right.

Yah see what I'm sayin'?

I don't know if I made any sense at all but I'M TIRED AND I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS KIND OF COOL, OKAY?? *blinks hard and sips DW's tea since I'm brainstorming while blogging #likeaboss*

Oooh and DW's tea makes me happy cause I remember drinking it as a kid and loving it so it has nostalgic meaning to me already. So yeah, you should totally try that! It's fun and then your tea becomes special. :D

I'm pretty sure most of this post was incoherent rambling but I DON'T EVEN CARE OKAY. *slumps off to brainstorm and use this post for reference because I AM A MESS HELP*

What's your writing beverage? Do you struggle with plot? IF YOU WANT TO RAMBLE TOO, FEEL FREE. TELL ME WHAT YOU'RE STRUGGLING WITH IN WRITING/NANOPREP RIGHT NOW.

<3 

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16 comments

  1. You've got some great tips here! Definitely some things to think about. :)

    My characters always seem to change goals halfway through the book as well? I think you've nailed the reason why: I get bored of it. Or I just want to get to the climax already that I decide to skip a lot of the story. I'm actually trying to edit Draped in Deception right now because of this issue...which means cutting half the book out. And rewriting. Ahhh I think I shall die from the amount of work. Good thing I love writing! XD

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    1. Lol that makes me feel better XP You got this! <3

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  2. EEEEEEEP THIS POST WAS SO MUCH FUN TO READ. I love reading about other writers' plotting/NaNo prepping methods! (ALSO VANILLA CHAI TEA SOUNDS REALLY GOOD RIGHT ABOUT NOW.) I really want to read your book. BECAUSE IT SOUNDS SO DELICIOUS OMG. I WANT IT IN FRONT OF MY FACE RIGHT NOW.

    All of these points are so good and important. Especially the inciting incident part... when I look back at all my past novels I'm like "WHAT WAS EVEN INTERESTING ABOUT THEM???" I feel like I know sooo much more now. ASDFGHJKL BASICALLY I AM JUST REALLY EXCITED FOR NANO.

    Drink that tea and get some words down!

    lotsalove,
    abbiee

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    1. Aw thanks for stopping by! You are so sweet! <3 I LOVE VANILLA CHAI, DUDE. I'M SO HAPPY THIS GOT YOU THINKING! The inciting incident is just soooo important *nods*

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  3. PLOTTING IS HARD FOR ME THIS YEAAAR

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    1. IT'S OKAY IT WILL COME WITH TIME <3 <3 <3 JUST KEEP THINKING AND LOOKING AND ASKING QUESTIONS AND DIGGING DEEPER!

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  4. PLOT IS SO HARD. I think it might be the hardest part for me - I just never know where I'm going XD. Great post!

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. ME TOO, DUDE. Like. My plots are always so crazy and full of chaos and just ajhsadfkjsdhlfkjasdh that I never really thought plot was that big of an issue for me? But it totally is. The biggest thing I struggle with. Probably because I have a difficult time making my mind up about anything XP *siiiigh*

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  5. YES, PLOT IS HARD SOMETIMES. But mine is slowly coming together! I actually think that I WILL have a full outline by November. o.o

    You had some amazing tips here! Definitely applying these.

    (and ahh, I love that you associate different teas with different projects! That is literally the best ever.)

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    1. Ahhhhh yessss I'm so happy for you! <3 You got thisssss!

      Yessss I love the teas you should dooooo iiiiit

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  6. Yes. How do you plot? *looks down to my plot board that lays dejected on my bed*
    I'm having a hard time with motivation though...;P
    This was an awesome post! If this was incoherent ramblings, then I guess it's helpful for me?;)
    Tea is the besssttt writing drink. YAS!!XD Tea all of the time.;D
    -Emma-

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    1. Lol yayyyy!!! I was feeling really weird when I wrote this so I wasn't sure if it was coherent or not XP I'm so glad you liked it!!! I WILL TRY TO WRITE A MOTIVATION POST SOON. I'M SO SORRY YOU ARE STRUGGLING! Your stories are beautiful and they matter and someday, they could change a life. And, even if they never do leave you, if they never do get out into the world, you can be sure that your stories will at least change you, and that, I believe, makes it all worth it. <3

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  7. Ooh TEA. I love chai tea! I like making it from scratch, and by "I like making it" I mean, I like it when my mum makes it hahaha. But I should really learn myself because, ya know #adulting and all that. *sighs* LIFE IS SO HARD.
    Anyway!
    I totally get the struggles of figuring out plot holes and things! I'm plotting a book right now (not a NaNo one...yes yes I don't know what I'm doing either) and IT HAS SO MANY PLOT ISSUES IT'S JUST AGRGHHH. Normally I'd let it stew in my brain a bit longer, but I honestly keep forgetting parts so I thought I'd best get (most of it) down now before I switch gears to my actual NaNo project.😂 But I love that feeling when everything comes together. BEST FEELING.
    Also I totally give my characters multiple goals. Like usually they'll be after small goals, but have other ones winding in around them. Like this pirate book I'm plotting the MC's goal is: get rid of their curse. But then they also have to survive and steal a special map and then kidnap someone and like aaall these other mini goals. IT'S REALLY FUN THO.
    And I'm totally rambling, but to be fair you told us to.😂
    (I LOVE READING YOUR POSTS. YOU HAVE AN AMAZING BLOGGING VOICE.)

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    1. Chai ... from scratch?? O.O *must try this and make some yesyesyes* *or, make my mom make some* XP

      I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOUR NANO NOVEL AHHH. I NEED TO RUN READ YOUR BEAUTIFUL BOOKS POST STILL SO I CAN KNOW MOORRRRREEEEEE. *flails* And mini goals are the besssst! But like, my issue is resolving the big goal. Like, say she breaks her curse halfway through the book. And then, as a result of that, she's given another goal that carries to the end. (although breaking a curse is a pretty killer goal so I don't think this would be an issue for you) *is jelly*

      YOU ARE SO SWEET AHHHH <3 You gave me ALL DA WARM FUZZIES

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  8. As a panster, I really enjoy reading plotting posts where people explain their process. It makes me want to give it a go.

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    1. You should! Like I said (I think), I like to know /what's/ going to happen, but then the first draft is my adventure of figuring out /how/ the things happen. If you like pantser freedom, I'd advise not plotting every single thing when you try it! Unless you really want to, then give it a go!

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