By Pamela Moeng
My previous research on plot and planning your book only whet my appetite for more, so back I went to the Internet and I found more helpful tips for plotting my next book.
Continuing with Randy Ingermanson I found his four pillars of fiction enlightening: Story World (the setting, know it inside and out); Characters (the players, capable of rational thought and feelings; know them better than you know your family); Plot (the storyline, what happens when your characters meet conflict); and, Theme (the deep meaning of your story, best written with a light touch).
Ingermanson says the average novel may have betweeb 50 and 200 scenes. He also says, to my relief as a fly-by-seat-of-my-pants writer, that not every writer should outline her book or use his Snowflake Method. "Write the way you are meant to write," he urges.
That said, Ali Hale on Daily Writing Tips.com suggests that using Nigel Watt's 8 point story arc or structure can help you craft a novel that is sure to be published. The 8 points follow:
1. Stasis - everyday life of your character
2. Trigger - something beyond control that occurs to destabilise life for your character
3. The quest - positive or negative trigger results in the quest
4. Surprise - takes up most of the middle of your book, includes pleasant and unpleasant obstacles which should be unexpected but plausible
5. Critical choice - often when the "real" character of your player is revealed usually in making a choice, I.e. Good but hard/ bad but easy
6. Climax - highest peak, e.g. Your player in front of a firing squad
7. Reversal - consequence of critical choice, climax, e.g. child standing up to a bully
8. Reversal - return to Stasis but your player is wiser, changed, enlightened
Hale says a novel can include arcs within arcs.
Aristotle discussed the perfect drama in his Poetics, where he outlined the three act form: the inciting incident in Act 1, rising action in Act 2, and the xllimax and resolution in Act 3.
All the websites advise using plotting as a tool, but plot should flow naturally from your setting and characters.
There are a number of books available on plot, many of them available on kalahari.net. Elements of Storytelling by Peter Rubie, Elements of Fiction Writing by Nancy Kress, Elements of Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham, Elements of Conflict, Action and Suspense by William Noble and Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt are just a few.
If you have tips on plotting that you want to share, please let Damaria and I know. What works for you may be just what another writer needs to know.