24 October 2014

The Goal of NaNoWriMo and Writing a Novel in a Month

The goal next month is not to write a polished novel. Next month's goal and every fast-writing goal is simply to write the barebones, foundation, design, essence, promise of a story -- words, lots and lots of words -- with the idea of going back and revising after the month is up.

Begin now:
1) Visualize yourself letting go, writing with abandon, sleeping, eating, breathing your story for an entire month, becoming obsessive of your writing time and compulsive about writing, letting the real world drop away as you fully enter the exotic world of your story. Without judgement, criticism or shame, see yourself writing for the pure joy of putting one word after another in the spirit of creating something out of nothing but a fragment, a wisp, a dream…

2) Clear your calendar of everything next month.

3) Schedule in your writing, sleeping, writing, eating, writing, plotting, dreaming, writing time.

4) See yourself writing everyday joyfully.

(NOTE: don't worry about your plot or if you're starting in the right place or any of the details. We'll get to that in December. For now, give yourself permission to completely give yourself to writing your story.

For plot help before, during and after writing a novel in a month, take my Plot Whisperer books along: 

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
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To continue writing and revising (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):
  •  
  • PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month
 ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises




23 October 2014

Expectation, Event, Reaction

This month, as you pre-plot for NaNoWriMo, keep in mind that every story and plot idea you brainstorm encompasses 3+ potential scenes:

1) Anticipation
          Anticipation of an upcoming event, creates curiosity and sets up tension in the reader not knowing, will the protagonist be successful or not?

2) Event
          The actual event the protagonist has been anticipating with expectation creates external dramatic action

3) Reaction
          How the protagonist reacts to the event gives clues to the reader about how she internalizes what just happened

Today I write! Rather, today I pre-plot for NaNo!

For pre-plotting tips and tricks and how to write a novel in a month, check out my Plot Whisperer books: 

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
  ~~~~~~~~
To continue writing and revising (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):
  •  
  • PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month
 ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises


22 October 2014

How to Write Even When You Feel Uninspired and Down

Every writer I know, it seems, is either preparing now to write a fast draft during NaNoWriMo, has a jump-start on November by speed-writing now to finish by the end of the year or has given up.

With novels anywhere from 50,000 (slight) to over 100,000 words, writing a fast draft gets you to the end faster. Problem at that point is knowing you're not finished -- not by a long-shot.

One of the biggest shocks for novelists just starting out is the realization they may have to write more than one draft -- several even. You get the end of draft 1 euphoric, only to understand how much work is still left to be done. You want it to be over. You want your story perfect in the next rewrite. You even work through all 30 exercises and 5.5 hours of video instruction during PlotWriMo, revision your entire story, only to rewrite again. And perhaps again and again.

Begin now by accepting that the fast draft you write now, you may have to rewrite all those thousands of words again later. Then put your head down and get to writing. Finish by the end of the year.

Writing a fast draft demands consistent and powerful writing.

Consistent writing is a tough one to achieve for writers who insist they can only write when they’re inspired to write. Consistent writing means showing up  to write whether you're inspired or dull, frightened or brave, energetic or lazy. You show up and write anyway.

A consistent writing regime is helpful, especially so writing a fast draft. A tight deadline of a month facilitates fast writing -- no time for procrastination, no time to wait for inspiration. Every spare moment must be devoted to writing or pre-plotting to succeed at completing a fast draft in a month.

Today I write! Rather, today I pre-plot for NaNo!

For pre-plotting tips and tricks and how to write a novel in a month, check out my Plot Whisperer books: 

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
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To continue writing and revising:


20 October 2014

3 Steps to Pre-Plot for NaNoWriMo -- Part One

Begin pre-plotting your story for NaNoWriMo with the 1st exercise in The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories.

1) Brainstorm how all three major plot lines in your story will evolve from the beginning into the middle and all the way to the end of the story

2) Imagine how your protagonist's traits change / transform over the course of your novel as a result of the dramatic action. Use that to create a transformation summary for the protagonist of your story

3) Jot your notes on a Plot Planner for a bird's eye view of your story

Strive for story ideas that keep the suspense and curiosity high with clearly defined goals and ticking clocks. Scenes linked by cause and effect. Provocative themes explored. Historical details / exotic locales and unusual lifestyles and breath-taking occupations.

Terrific! Right?

Though the dramatic action plot stays true to the structure of the Universal story, the character emotional development plot is devoid of its most important element = no character transformation in the end. None. Not one character. All the characters are exactly the same at the end of the story as they started out in the beginning.

Don't let this problem befall your story.

Begin pre-plotting for NaNoWriMo, with the ultimate character transformation in mind. Start there. 

For more pre-plotting tips and tricks and how to write a novel in a month, check out my Plot Whisperer books: 

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.

Today I write! Rather, today I pre-plot for NaNo!
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To continue writing and revising:


17 October 2014

How to Create a Plot Planner -- Part 1

Lots of writers are finding a Plot Planner the perfect place to stand back and plan and organize the plots, characters, themes, romance of their stories in preparation for NaNoWriMo2014.

To demonstrate how to make a Plot Planner, I took inspiration from the young character in Chef, a wonderful feel-good movie, who made a "vine." I found the idea of taking little videos and making them into a bit bigger video a fun way to get a point across in one of those only-on-Youtube delightful ways (keep in mind, I have no idea what I was doing…).

My interpretation of a vine here and below, showing how to make a plot planner.
In How to Create a Plot Planner -- Part 2, a longer version with an actual logical sequence is coming.

Lots of examples of Plot Planners on Pinterest.

For more tips and tricks to pre-plotting and writing a novel in a month, check out my Plot Whisperer books: 
1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.

Today I write! Rather, today I pre-plot for NaNo!
  ~~~~~~~~
To continue writing and revising:


16 October 2014

Pre-NaNoWriMo Pre-Plotting Tip for the Middle and End of the Novel

When thinking / pre-plotting your story for NaNoWriMo, keep in mind that the middle is more than an exotic world of the antagonists and to create conflicts and challenges for the protagonist. Yes, the dilemmas and setbacks she endures in the middle provide drama and page-turnability.

The struggles to survive and go forward also hold the gifts of new skills and abilities that will serve her well at the climax as she begins to adapt her thinking to the demands of her new reality.

In resisting the changes required of her in the middle to succeed, she struggles. After the crisis / dark night around the 3/4 mark of the story, she becomes conscious of all that has come before. In that new light, she understands the strength and courage she's gained in her suffering and the freedom afforded her.

That way, in the middle of next month, when you're floundering for depth in your writing, you'll find these notes for scene expansion opportunities. And, by the end of the month, when you're exhausted and spent, you'll have scene ideas how best to show the integration of these new skills and beliefs.

For more tips and tricks to pre-plotting and writing a novel in a month, check out my Plot Whisperer books: 
1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.

Today I write! Rather, today I pre-plot for NaNo!
  ~~~~~~~~
To continue writing and revising:

15 October 2014

Dancing between Plotting the Overall Story Level and Writing at the Word Level

Writing at the word level is an act of grace for writers, especially so writers who prefer turning inward rather than outward in their writing lives (inward-writing / outward-selling) and love to withdraw to the refuge of listening only to the muse. Diving deep into ideas that excite you makes you feel vital and alive. Welcoming in just the right words and images and emotions and creating beauty through your words becomes a meditation, a devotion.

(I include the image to the right because the very talented Victoria at Whit andWare Design just shared this banner option for my ezine and I wanted to share it!)

Plotting at the overall story level, however, is more of a challenge. To step back and consider the story in its entirety requires the integration of themes and transformation, excitement and suspense, love and connection. Rather than through discovery at the word level, pre-plotting and plotting and testing your plot often demands stepping outside your place of comfort and taking risks with your story, big risks.

For those of you following along in the The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing in our final surge to the climax, with the novel I resisted for so long, as in all things, the actual doing (writing the scenes up to and including the Crisis / Dark Night) turns out to be a breeze compared to the storm caused by all my resistance. I hope you've had the same feelings of relief to have those scenes written no matter who sketchy or trite or skimming the surface… for now. Of course, now we face the daunting challenge of lifting our stories to a satisfying climax. Ah, well, conflict is inherent in all stories and in all writers' lives and often our personal lives, too.

Today, rather than write, I'm filming a vine as I design the Plot Planner for the story. If all goes smoothly (though, as in most things I seem to undertake, I have no idea what I'm doing!) I'll share the short video on my Youtube channel later today.

Oh, and if you're planning to write 50,000 words next month with NaNoWriMo, following are plot and writing resources to help you prepare:

1) Plot your story step-by-step with the help of The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories

2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
named BEST BOOKS FOR WRITERS by Poets and Writers. The author provides insight on how to create works of fiction with powerful stories and focuses on how to devise a Universal Plot, plot lines and subplots, compelling scenes, and character transformation.

***** Knowing what to write where in a story with a plot reinforces daily writing practice and allows for more productivity in your writing. Whether writing a first draft or revising, if you falter wondering what comes next in a story with a plot, follow the prompts in The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.

Today I write! Rather, today I plot!

11 October 2014

It's Not Too Late to Achieve Your Writing Goal for 2014

Life spins a bit faster in anticipation of year's end. You intend to finish your novel, memoir, screenplay this year - simply finish. Fall is the time to write fast.

Take October to pre-plot or re-plot your novel, November to finish and December to revise. Sounds simple enough.

Forget the outcome for now. What you write doesn't have to be perfect or brilliant or even very good. In fact, the sloppier the better. For the next month and a half, simply focus on writing fast everyday and moving between writing and standing back to consider your story as a whole all the way to the end.

The more enjoyable the process of writing for you, the more likely you are to write. See a path to writing everyday you can. Write fast.

Take the PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month Pre-Challenge:

You have 1 Month and 2 weeks to get a draft written in time for PlotWriMo. Beginning December 1st, follow the exercises in the PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month video series and re"vision" and redefine the plot arc of your story.
is custom designed to ensure your success even during the busiest time of the year. 

Begin 2015 ready for a powerful rewrite, to submit your work to contests and agents and/or to self-publish your novel.

~~~~~
More resources to support you in your pre-challenge:
1) Plot your story step-by-step with the help of
The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories

2) Read The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
named BEST BOOKS FOR WRITERS by Poets&Writers. The author provides insight on how to create works of fiction with powerful stories and focuses on how to devise a Universal Plot, plot lines and subplots, compelling scenes, and character transformation.

***** Knowing what to write where in a story with a plot reinforces daily writing practice and allows for more productivity in your writing. Whether writing a first draft or revising, if you falter wondering what comes next in a story with a plot, follow the prompts in The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.

Today, I write.

10 October 2014

New Ideas on How to Plot and Write the Middle of a Novel

I talk about the Middle of a novel, memoir, screenplay as an exotic world ruled by the antagonists. Both an exotic world and antagonists provide lots of scene opportunities while also creating and building rising tension, suspense, excitement and curiosity to replicate the energy of the Universal Story and keep the reader engaged.
A couple of years ago, based on novels, memoirs and screenplays I've deconstructed, I posted the following 8 tips how to keep the story moving forward and create page-turnability throughout the middle of your story.

1) call in the antagonists
2) create an exotic world
3) begin middle with overarching conflict or suspense plot point
4) ask yourself: because that happens, what happens next?
5) add a great subplot(s)
6) know the crisis
7) know the climax
8) begin filling in and deepening character flaw

Many of these tips rely on tension to create an energetic forward momentum.

Then, I delighted in watching Chef, a comedy-drama film written, produced and directed by Jon Favreau, create the same rising energy of the Universal Story without any or rather with only one antagonist.

The music, the pacing, the crowds, the dialogue, the love kept amping up the energy of the middle as effectively albeit more light-heartedly than all the usual negativity created by antagonists interfering with the protagonist's forward movement to her goal.

The overarching dramatic question developed at the beginning of the middle of the film pulls us forward though the external dramatic action in each scene keeps us connected, engaged and enchanted.

For an in-depth resource to all the questions to ask about how to write the middle of your story, refer to The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories.

Today I write!
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For pre-plotting ideas and how to write a fast first draft:

1) Re-read the The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master book and follow the instructions how to pre-plot your story

3) Complete all the exercises and fill in all the templates (plot planners included) in The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories 

4) Forget next month for now and enjoy this month writing or revising what you're currently working on and take with you into next month The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing for daily prompts to guide you how to write a story with a plot from beginning to end.
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To continue writing and revising and looking for plot help:

03 October 2014

How to Pre-Plot & Complete a Novel or Memoir in a Month

It's early October and already writers look to the future in anticipation of writing 50,000 words of their novel during the month of November.

Lots of writers will jump into the writing frenzy last minute and by-the-seat-of-their-pants with or without a plot idea. Other writers will spend this month dreaming. Writers who love to to organize their lives for the greatest efficiency and less stress will spend October pre-plotting. Then there are writers who take things slowly and methodically, needing to consider all their options and their willingness to subject themselves to the overstimulation, disliking conflict and even a bit shy about committing to the challenge.

I, for one, love pre-plotting. No writing required. Stand back and imagine the big picture thematically, dramatically and emotionally. Plot ideas on a Plot Planner. Add pictures of characters and settings and details that stimulate your senses and energy to write about them.

Pre-plotting feels like an artistic pursuit compared to the grueling challenge if you do decide to write 50,000 words next month. A warm-up and lovely way to ease into the creative process. Showing up without any pressure of word count or deadlines. Simply time spent with the muse and plotting out what comes to you.

Today I write, and I pre-plot.

If you'd like pre-plotting ideas and how to write a fast first draft:

1) Re-read the The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master book and follow the instructions how to pre-plot your story

2) Complete all the exercises and fill in all the templates (plot planners included) in The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories 

3) Forget next month for now and enjoy this month writing or revising what you're currently working on and take with you into next month The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing for daily prompts to guide you how to write a story with a plot from beginning to end.
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If you simply want to continue writing and revising and are looking for plot help:
Read my Plot Whisperer books for writers

Watch Plot Video Workshops Series: