Friday, November 2, 2012

Workshop Day 2

Hey writers! How's your writing coming along? I hope things are going smoothly and well for you!

Personal questions or chats can be sent to

workshop ink in the book at g mail dot com (no spaces, of course!)

I had planned to wait until Monday Check-in to post any more, but I found an idea today that helped me plan my NaNo novel and it worked wonders for my manuscript ideas! Wanna know the secret?

Mapping my story in a rough outline form. Now, normally, I write with the flow. I start with an idea and just write. Amazing ideas usually just show up while I'm writing. But since I am on a time limit, I thought I would try the outline and see what happened.

Now, if you are against using an outline (the arguments on both sides have been widely "argued") this method can still work for you. It's not a method that is written in stone. You can change if inspiration strikes in the middle of a scene. Simply write the idea that inspired you:)

As you fill in the map, don't stress over an empty thought. In other words, it's okay if yo skip a section until you figure it out. It's also okay if you put something in the outline, then change it if a new thought comes to mind. There's no reason to stress over a blank idea. It will fill as you write.

Here is what I put down on my mapped outline:

Point A should describe the hook of your story all the way to the end of ACT 1, which would be the turning point of the MC. Keep your thoughts brief and don't stress over details. The isn't the time or place for details. That will come later. This exercise is only meant to give you some direction.

Next, map out the setup for y our story. This is background information that you as the author needs to know. T his is important because while writing this, you may "stumble" onto a great scene you hadn't thought about before mapping. You may never use this information in our story, but it WILL help you flesh out characters, settings, and plot idea. It really does help!

Next, Point C, you'll want to write about the mood ACT 1 will evoke. No, not by writing, "She was excited!" or "He bowed his head in shame." Not that sort of writing. You can evoke mood by using weather conditions, props in the scene, the setting (dark alley, sunny picnic meadow...) the emotions of your characters, the style of your writing, and others.

Point D is the inciting incident. If you don't know what the inciting incident is, there will be a leeson on this in just a few days! But this is what happens that makes your MC decide he/she MUST start on the journey, whatever that may be.

And last, for now, is what is at stakes? Why would your readers WANT to keep reading your story?

This is only the beginning, but at least it's a start. We'll talk about the map for ACT 2 later!

Have a great weekend


  1. I found an outline enormously helpful, and this is a fabulous way of doing an outline! I will have to try it out on the next project.

    1. Thanks Lora! Be sure and check out the rest of my mapping technique in a couple of days! We'll get more details for out maps!

  2. K so my computer decided to not turn on today and that meant that i was now separated from all the prep work i had done for nano and everything that i wrote yesterday and this morning. I'm not too worried about things though because my husband is a techie so he will get all the things on my hardrive that I need. but I've been pretty stuck as I started on to my writing for today. this really helped me find my groove and get writing again.

    1. Ohhhh:( I'm so sorry to hear about your computer problems! Sometimes hi-tech is hi-pain! I hope your techie hubby can get what you need.

      I'm glad this mapping idea worked for you! Here's to your quick recovery! (((hugs)))

  3. I'm a dedicated pantser. Outlines make me obsess. But I DID do something similar - almost a pre-synopsis of the basics - characters, plot, before, during, during after. Since I am also using mythology - I have a separate document with the basic outline of each gods' personality. I am doing this from scratch with the ultimate goal of writing 90k, editing/revising, creating a query/synopsis by the time the agent pitch starts. I've been having issues with my MoJo lately, but this workshop is helping :)

  4. Great tips above, am especially going to try setting the mood by thinking about weather and atmosphere etc

  5. I do something similar but it's a plot grid I got from another blog. That one is a grid of nine boxes. Box 1 is the triggering event, Box 2 is Characterization, Box 3 is First Major Turning Point, Box 4 is Foreshadowing, Box 5 is tying boxes 2&4 together, Box 6 is All Hell Breaks Loose, Box 7 is Antagonist Appears to Win, Box 8 is the Ah Ha! or the Of Course! Moment and Box 9 is the Real Resolution. I am using it for my NaNoWriMo book.

  6. Thank you these are great tips! I have several ideas for a story. I guess I will try your suggestions and see which one is leading the path. This will give me a chance to further explore~ Thank you so much....I am looking forward to learning more :D You rock!

    I love your header ;D Your blog is so pretty and so fits the season(and Polka dots-whoa!) @>-------

  7. Great tips for writing. I love writing back story, finding out as much as I can about characters. I sometimes keep a scrap book with pictures as well, which is a great distraction. Good luck with NaNo:))


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