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Thursday, October 16, 2014

NaNoWriMo Boot Camp: Day 2

Got a plot?

If you've completed the exercises from Day 1 of NaNo boot camp (and you may not have because some of them are multi-day projects - don't stress it) then you know how you write. Step two for planning a successful NaNoWriMo is finding a plot.

NaNoWriMo attracts all different kinds of authors. Some of you have the idea already there, you know the book, you just need that last push to give writing a try. Others are on deadlines and are using NaNoWriMo to get a rough draft out of the way. And then there are people who really want to write but don't know where to start. This day is for you.

Day 2: Find a Plot
The plot is what your story is about. It's how the characters move from Point A to Point Z and all the choices they make in between. If you're a literature major (or have spent time around them) you've heard about climaxes and construction and probably snowflakes. Those are all wonderful things but useless when you're staring at a blank page thinking about lunch instead of prose. Here's how to make that blank page a masterpiece...

Exercise 1: What's on your bookshelf?
-  Look at the books you read and love. What do you love about them? What are the similarities between them? Do you read a specific genre or theme?
- If you have nowhere else to start, this is a great place. Look at your shelves and what you love, and envision the book that fits in, but isn't there yet.
- Two very important things to remember here: one - all writer are readers, two - all books are derivative. There is no such thing as a truly original plot, all stories have their genetic roots in other books, and that's part of the reason we like them. Looking to your favorite books will give you an idea of what you love.

Exercise 2: What movies do you watch?
- Think of your favorite movies and shows. Do yo1u see a theme? Is there a kind of character you love watching? Great!
- Imagine a character who takes traits from each of your favorite TV characters. What do they act like? Where would they live?

Exercise 3: Make a List of 25 Things That Could Happen
- Go wild! Pick a genre and write down twenty-five things that could happen within that universe, cliche to cray-cray.

Exercise 4: Let the idea sit for a week.
- You aren't forgetting it, you're letting the idea mature. If you come up with an idea for one of the plots, by all means take note!
- A good story idea is the one that still excites you a week after you think of it. Anything that loses it's energy after a few days won't keep you writing through the tough parts, or editing for years after that. Look at all your options and see what you still love on Monday.

NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 1: Establish a Baseline
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 2: Finding a Plot
NaNoWriMo Boot Camp Day 3: The Antagonist (coming Tuesday)

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