plotplotplotplotplotplotplot…

That’s the mechanical sound of my brain
whirring and whizzing and whooshing
(and every other wh word you can think of)
as the plot line is put in on the operating table
this morning.

Donald Maass is in my head.
Ramp it up.
Make it worse.
Foil it. Spoil it.
Conflict. Conflict. Conflict.
(Okay, Mr. Maass. You can go back to work. I’ve got it.)

Last weekend, I saw Ender’s Game
(like a ton of other people on the planet)
and while pondering plot,
the scene with the robo-surgeon
won’t leave my head.

(Yes, they deviated from the book.
I’m a bit bummed, too. *heavy sigh. Anyway…)

So, yeah, the robo-surgeon is downright imposing.
*silence




That’s exactly how I feel.
This plot-ramping/operating thing is imposing.
Looming.
Standing over me
like a Bugger that won’t leave until I’ve got the plot baby safe on the page.

Okay, enough Ender’s Game.

Idea-mongering is the goal.
The commodity of negative ideas.
Bad moments.
Big problems.
Peddling conflict that’s undesirable for my Hero
(but great for my readers).

And in-between, little pieces that grow the Hero,
share the world
(S.l.o.w.l.y. share the world, right Russell?)
and entertain.

That’s all.

(Can I go home now?
It’s a wonder that anyone writes a novel.)

Well.
I have a process.

Write down the new plot idea.
Look at it. Blink a few times.
Think of it’s implications and play it forward in the story.
Put it in the Save It or Toss It pile.
Repeat.

Do this until your head aches.

Gather final ideas.
Sleep on it.
(If you have good dreams or bad dreams about it,
that plays into the decision-making, too.)
Get up.
Get coffee. Drink coffee. (Lots of coffee.)
Sigh a few times.
Wait to see if the idea jumps or changes or crawls away.
Sit up straight.
Yay or Nay it.
Write.

(Because it’s not always a lightning-strike.
Sometimes the little ideas gather momentum
and burst into a Grinch-sized bag of plot points.)

I have my coffee in hand.
Time to go.
* Thup
grinch