Friday, May 23, 2014

How do you go about plotting?

I reached Bangalore a few hours back. I was in Mumbai for a week for my cousin’s wedding. The wedding was great fun, I met loads of relatives, enjoyed myself with my cousins, laughed and ate a lot (two things I always do). One thing that sapped me of my energy was the Mumbai heat. The less said about the Mumbai heat the better.

Now, it’s back to work and writing. I need to get back into my writing groove after a two week break. Trust me when I say that writing is the last thing on my mind. My head is full of the big fat Indian wedding celebrations. I am wondering how do I get back into the plotting mode (which I had left midway).

I am plotting a MG book as well as writing a few important scenes. I need some plotting tips and guidelines so that I can outline the major scenes and turning points in the story fast. Once I am done with that, I am sure the story will flow faster. Can any of my blog buddies help me with plotting tips? I want to get back into the writing mode quickly.

Are there any plotting guidelines I can use? How do you all go about plotting? Is there a writing book that comes to your rescue? Any plotting tips for me?

How have you all been? Anyone has any great news to share with me?


  1. Welcome back!
    I hate extreme heat.
    I always start with an ending. Then I got back in time and imagine how the characters got to that point. I run the story through my head, like I'm watching a movie, many times.
    Don't know if that helps you, but that's how I plot.

  2. I love The Plot Whisperer Workbook by Martha Alderson. I have all kinds of books on writing articles on plotting I've saved, but The Plot Whisperer is by far my favorite.

    Good luck!! :)

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  3. Weddings are fun:) I'd say, don't force yourself into a writing groove, especially since inspiration doesn't work that way. Instead, I suggest, try writing some fun stuff just for kicks, i.e. fan fiction, short stories, or even a plot line for something you doubt you'll write. Let your mind expand in different directions, and it'll help get the juices flowing for what you really want to write:)

  4. HI, Rachna,

    WELCOME BACK! I missed you!

    Glad you had a wonderful time at the wedding....

    I like what Mark said.

    You really shouldn't force it. Try to unwind, relax a bit. Take a walk. Seriously. Get out into nature and observe. Think back at the wedding. The conversations, the bonding... With M/G chemistry is essential with the characters. Let them bond together over a situation, in class against a disliked teacher, at a sports event, or something they all like to do. Add a mystery. That's always good and let them band together to solve it....

    Hope some of these help...

    Enjoy your weekend!

  5. You can look into: Seven-Point Structure, M.I.C.E. Quotient, Hollywood Formula, Hero's Journey, Three-Act Format, and "Points on a Map" Plotting. I believe Writing Excuses has an episode for all but the last one.

  6. I can't think of a book right now, because we're still in Spain, away from my crowded bookshelf. But I'd say, for this draft, just write to the end. Your plot twists might surprise you. If your characters are firmly in your mind, and you have some idea of how it ends, they will tell you where to take the story.

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  8. Mumbai heat is not much when compared to Chennai! But fortunately, the first half of May this year was pleasant due to some storm which formed in the sea, but didn't come to the land.

    I found Story:... by McKee to be the best book on plot and related explanation.

    Destination Infinity

  9. Welcome back! Needless to say, Mumbai weather is really hot and humid! I miss out almost all wedding invitations now since I started living in Switzerland!!

    I love reading Oscar Wilde. They are full of unique ideas and plots.

  10. Welcome back Rachna.

    Check out this page which has a variety of tips/links:

  11. I'm not sure there are any shortcut at the early stages, basically you have to brainstorm ideas, throw away most of them, and slowly find really cool moments to build around. Lots of time alone to muse helps.


  12. I am weird in that I love the heat. I much prefer it to the snow and cold. Glad you had some quality family time at the wedding.

    I'll have to read what plot recommendations your commenters have--that is outside of my knowledge base.

  13. Welcome back! Mumbai sounds like Singapore all year.
    Two books on plot helped me-- one is by James Scott Bell, the other by Donald Mass :).

  14. Am sure you had a lot of fun and wore some lovely dresses, Rachna:)

  15. Thank you friends for the book suggestions and advice. I have started brainstorming keeping all your suggestions in mind.

  16. Welcome back, Rachna!! Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

    As for books on plotting, I like Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. An oldie, but a goodie.

  17. I plot during the writing. I don't know what will come up, so I only plot out a few scenes or a couple chapters at a time. Sometimes, I write out of sequence: seeing the end allows me to write the journey easier.

    I know, I'm weird.

  18. Congratulations on your cousins wedding. I am sure you had a great time. It is nice to have you back.

  19. I don't look forward to the July and August heatwave.

    I've been using the same chapter by chapter template for years.