Plotting Epiphany

Just under two weeks left in the month.  Where has time gone?  I don’t know the answer to that, but I know the answer to where the rest of it better go: into my word count goal and getting pocket letters done and sent before November and NaNoWriMo hit.

And, of course, into plotting.

I’m working on two outlines right now.  One for Hedge House, my NaNoWriMo novel, which is coming along nicely except for a couple rather hazy areas where I’ve left notes to myself that say:

[NEED SOME SORT OF SEGUE HERE]

and

[NEED SOMETHING HERE TO GET HER FACED OFF AGAINST JONAS]

Those are okay for now, but I’m going to have to have something more specific by November.

The other is for Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord.  It is also coming along well except I need to add a lot more to it – I’m pretty sure that I don’t have enough outlined to make it novel-length.   And I need something more to tie it into the overall arc of the series.  But at least I know what the last scene is.

What I really need for it is motivation for the antagonist – and I’m thinking that his motivation will also help with tying it into the overall story arc for the series.  But I’m not sure what that is yet – it’s just this nebulous hazy half formed idea.

So how do I make it more concrete?

Simple.

I brainstorm it.

Here’s the question: Why does [BG] (Bad Guy – he doesn’t have a name yet) kidnap Shander?

Well, why does anyone kidnap someone? He wants something in return?  But what?  I mean, Shander’s an orphan, so it’s not like he can demand a ransom from his family – unless he’s trying to get it from the school, and the wizards and Warders there are more likely to see to his early demise than to give him any kind of reward.

And who is [BG]? Knowing that will help with the answer to why.

Or maybe he thinks he’ll get a ransom from Rahmael (Shander’s Warder).  If so, he’s underestimating not only Rahm and his family (and his family’s resources) but also (again) the leaders of the school.

Or maybe he’s a disgruntled customer upset because the orphanage was closed down and he had planned to buy Shander back once he was “trained” (or had sent him there for “training.”) (The Headmaster at the orphanage had a side business of training young boys to be sex slaves – he was shut down by some of the people from the Academy, which not only made him unhappy – and a prisoner of the Crown – but no doubt left some unhappy customers as well, and ooooo!  There was a thread I was going to use in that book but decided not to in order to focus on something else and take the book in a different direction and it’s going to tie in beautifully here and solve a lot of problems! Woot!)

And there you have it.  That is how I work out plot issues and do my outlining. I just keep talking through it and asking questions and writing answers and generating more questions until something clicks.

In this case, I have not only solved the problem of who kidnapped Shander and why, but I also figured out how to give some clues and foreshadowing for something that happens in Book 12, and, with perhaps a bit more tweaking, tie it into the overall arc.

Life is good!

Now I’m off to put all this down in less hazy words so I don’t forget my brilliant flash of insight.

 

 

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