To Build A Story: Plotting and the Unexpected

So, you might have noticed the sidebar hasn’t been moving very much. In the wake of CampNaNo, I haven’t been able to get very many words down. I’m still chipping away some, but I still need some time to get back to my old self. But don’t worry, I haven’t been idle. I’ve been very busy actually, just not in words.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve reached the Twilight Zone that is the middle of the book. I’m at the point where I’m starting to wonder where the story is going, and honestly, before today, I couldn’t have answered that. I had a general idea, but the dots didn’t connect.

I had two long sessions with my amazing CPs, with a lot of coffee, brainstorming, and brilliant ideas (brain babies, as we call them) the pieces have come together.

My CP Rebekah and I talked about climax and resolution a lot, and she said a lot of things that really struck me (I’ll write another post on that later) but from listening to her feedback from an agent on her own story, I realized I had too much going on in my own story. Too many plotlines. I needed to reexamine my core conflict, my climax, and resolution. I needed to step back and look at the story arc, as a whole.

After I talked with them, I came home and wrote for three hours straight. I decided to focus on one plotline, instead of the many I had intended as subplots (but became much more important than intended) and pared away everything else. I wrote down the climax for this plotline, and then doubled the drama and the stakes. I created a resolution that tied off this conflict and plotline, but led to the next.

Which led me to the next book.

Yes, the next book.

From the beginning, I’ve intended for Nightfire to be a standalone. But through CampNaNo, I realized how much more story was there than I had thought. And these stories couldn’t just be side lines and subplots, they had to be told.

So then came the second book, and its story arc. Then the third. And the fourth.

Yes,  the fourth book.

I meant for Nightfire to be standalone, but as I wrote out the conflicts and arcs for each story, it led right into the next one. Sometimes (a lot of times) the story makes itself be told the way it wants to, not always the way you wanted.

So now I look forward to four books. A series. It will be the first series I’ve ever written. It’s somewhat daunting, but exciting at the same time. I really love the story of each one, and the progression of my characters and how the big picture unfolds over the course of the series.

My passion for this story has been reignited. Not that I ever stopped loving it, but I slowed down when I lost my way, and couldn’t see the end. Now I can see the end, and the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that.

When I finished CampNaNo, I thought I was halfway through this journey. But the story had different plans. This is just the beginning 🙂

 

I’ve been throwing around some title ideas for the other books, and wanted to get your input just for fun, though it’s obviously too early for anything definite 🙂 Feel free to throw out other ideas, too!

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22 thoughts on “To Build A Story: Plotting and the Unexpected

  1. Sometimes the characters run away with the story XD. Glad your passion for the series was reignited 😀 The benefit of a short story is that it’s somewhat contained. Novels are so much more difficult, at least to do it well. I have 2 friends, one a good writer, and the other doesn’t write, but they both have great ideas. I love brainstorming with them. Erm, I refer to one as Friend A on my blog. I guess I’ll call the other one Friend B. I help Friend A with ideas too. It’s so much fun! Friend A is very smart and practical. She is my logical half because my head is always in the clouds. She is the peanut butter to my jelly. Okay, that sounds weird now that I type it out, but it’s late XD I was editing my suicide story, and just felt inspired, so that’s why I’m up.. I was talking to Friend A about the fantasy story I wanted to write, and she was like, where is the plot? I was like, oh, yeah, I don’t know XD That’s something I’m really working on :$ I spent so much energy on my prose that storytelling took a back seat. I think I’m strong in characterization, but I’m weak on plots, which is arguably the most important part of any story. That’s why I’m going to write an outline for my novel before I start or I just go off on random tangents, kind of like this reply, lol.

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    • Yes, they really do! Haha I’ve never been able to write short stories. They also became long stories, and then books 🙂 Yeah, I think characters drive the story, but there still needs to be plot and some action happening, otherwise it’s kind of a whole lot of pretty words and nothing. Outlining will help! I wasn’t good at plotting or anything, but even the most basic concepts really make a difference. Good luck!

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  2. It’s always great to hear your writing journey and I’m so glad you got to discuss with someone and have the result of not only refinding motivation but also managing to suss out more books!! (^_^)//
    I’ve been contemplating lately of finding a writing group because from what I’ve seen and read, both published, self-published and yet-to-be published, people have better written, more enjoyable books and have a better chance at having more people enjoy their book! =)
    Keep it up!!

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  3. That’s really exciting! I love when stories take on a life of their own like that, you never know where it’s going to take you 🙂 I look forward to reading the Nightfire saga 😀

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  4. Wildfade and Darkcrest sound awesome! It really is true that stories sometimes write themselves. Even series. The Soul was the same for me. I’m really excited about this for you. You do deserve a break, though, after Camp. It can burn the best of ’em out.

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  5. I voted anyways, but I really wouldn’t name a book before I knew what it was about (the events of Books 1, 2, 3, & 4). It’s great that you are going to write a series. I considered writing a second book for The CyberWorld, but I don’t think it’s needed. I wanted to finish up the end arc, so I’m doing it in the novel itself. Make sense? No. Okay. 😛

    Good luck with your novel-writing! 😀

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    • I agree with you, I just wanted to get some feedback for fun 🙂 I never thought I could write a series, that I’d run out of ideas, but it doesn’t seem like it this time. I hope it goes well 🙂 Good luck with your writing!

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