I’ve always believed that structure is good for kids. They need to know where the boundaries are and how much freedom they can have within those guidelines.
Turns out what’s good for kids, is good for writing, too.
I will probably never be one of those people who plots everything down to the last detail. It’s just not in my nature. But I think knowing some of the boundaries of my story will help me write a better book. (And just for the record, I’m completely jealous of you people who can plot everything down to the last detail!)
I’ve already blogged about the wonderful screenwriting book I read, Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. I also subscribe to Martha Alderson’s newsletter and read her blog, The Plot Whisperer. Martha has taught classes and written books on plotting blockbusters. Last week she sent out an email announcing her new YouTube channel where she has started “teaching” a series on plotting your novel, memoir or screenplay. So far there are five episodes up. Each one is less than ten minutes. And did I mention, this is all FREE?!
Here’s what she’s covered so far:
- Video One: Character and Goal
- Video Two: Character flaws
- Video Three: Setting part 1
- Video Four: Setting part 2
- Video Five: Three Essential Plot Lines
Just to give you an example of the brilliance she shares, in the second video she explains that not only should your character be flawed. That flaw should also keep them from getting what they want. I’ve always known that perfect characters are kind of boring to read about. But giving the MC a flaw that makes it harder to reach their goal is great advice!
If you’re starting something new, or trying to revise a second draft, I highly recommend watching these videos and reading Martha’s blog.
And now, I return to my cave for a (hopefully!) uninterrupted day of plotting and writing…
I can dream, can’t I?