Thursday, December 13, 2007

Plotting and Re-plotting

Last week I recommended a Bible study book. This week I'd like to recommend a couple of writing how-to books. I've probably mentioned them before, but they're on my mind right now because I just spent the last couple of weeks re-plotting a book. I've decided to take the two plotting aids I used in the first book I sold and to use them every time. I truly think they're what helped me be successful with Michael's Surrender (now titled Her Unlikely Family).

My method: I take my story premise and begin work in Alicia Rasley's The Story Within Guidebook. I usually fill a whole legal notepad with the exercises in the book. Then at some point, I also go to my copy of Carolyn Green's Magic Conflict Chart from her Prescription for Plotting workbook. Using these two aids, I come up with my characters (flaws, heroic traits, strengths, weaknesses) and build the sketch of a plot using the characters.

While working through these reference books this time, I especially focused on conflict. I needed to make sure I had a book-long external conflict. Thanks to these great how-to workbooks, I'm now revising my story! I'm ten pages into my new beginning and hope to zoom right through. :)

What's your favorite how-to book?



  1. Thank you for the links to these two books. I'll definitely add them to my wish list. I read Carolyn's website about her book. That's what I need right now - how to make sure your scenes don't snooze! LOL!

    So far my favorite how-to book is Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. It's been the first that I've actually applied to my book. It didn't help me finish it but it did help me with my character's perspectives.

  2. Missy,
    Thanks for the links to the books. I did buy the Alicia Rasley one--it's great....
    Very good recomendations. And when I read your synopsis--i thought it was flowed, the characters rang true---the books do work.

  3. Thanks, Lindi!

    Christy, I also use Deb's GMC. But I pretty much do it automatically as I'm thinking of story ideas. I have a basic gmc chart in my head, I guess. LOL


  4. Years ago I took Carolyn Green's Plot Doctor workshop and Deborah Dixon's GMC workshop through RWA. I've created a blended technique of my own quirks that uses both these techniques. I don't have either of these books, I just have their methods imprinted upon my brain from the workshops.