Waddup Savi Crew!
Apologies once again for the uber late post (it’s seems like a running theme nowadays) and given these posting-late-for-two-weeks-in-a-row occurrences, I’m curious to see what will transpire once Camp Nano begins the following week.
But don’t assume for one minute that because I’m “slacking off” with my blog posts that means I’m “slacking off” with my writing projects. Hell-to-tha-nah-nah-nah! I’m more devoted than ever and ALWAYS make time for my writing. Because that’s the only way to make it.
Before I jump into the topic at hand, one major update: I’ll be switching projects for Camp Nano. I know, real shocker (damn you, indecisiveness) but I need to be real with myself and plotting a novel sequel while editing its predecessor is fairly ambitious—ahem—correction, exceedingly ambitious. So I’ll be just focusing on the first novel since it’s gonna be a MAJOR rewrite instead of edits.
Camp Nano is supposed to be fun and I couldn’t see myself having fun with all those commitments looming over my head. Not to mention working a full-time job and helping to look after my nephew. I’m getting winded just blogging about it! Also, I’ll be doing hourly count instead of word count. Rewrites are unpredictable enough as it is without the added pressure of putting in long hours towards my WIP with very little word count to show for it.
With all that context out of the way, onto the subject at hand. Plot practice. What the heck is it? And do you need it? Well, if plot is your weakest area—like me—then the answer to the second question is a resounding YES! Plot practice can help you build a unique story with a simple or complex plot. Essentially we’ll be recycling an already existing plot and making it our own.
Since we don’t need to come up with the plot, we can focus on other areas (you know, the two additional legs of the story tripod—character and setting). Which is where I tend to shine. I’ve been inventing characters since I could talk. Ever since I was little I liked to pretend to be someone else or live somewhere else. Hence my character and setting / world-building muscles are well-defined.
Let’s use a simple plot to demonstrate how you can do your plot practice exercises: Little Red Riding Hood. Feel free to use complex ones if you know that it won’t get away from you or perhaps plot is your strong suit (in which case, I hate you lolz). For plot practice, I like to do something we often do within my web design job scope, known as “A/B testing” where you don’t make all the changes at once, rather you change one thing at a time and compare the two versions to see which one performs better.
Quick disclaimer: The plot diagram I’ll be referencing was taken from this source: http://nextbook.co/editor/
Remember we’re keeping the plot the same. If we try to get all fancy it may get away from us and the purpose of plot practice is to make better stories and improve our plotting muscle.
So if we’re not messing with the original story what can we change to make it our own? Well, what if instead of humans, the characters in Little Red Riding Hood were automobiles. Different story, right?
Exposition – Little Red Riding Hood has prepared a basket of goodies for her grandmother. She begins walking through dangerous woods to deliver the basket.
A fiery red MINI Cooper, called Little Red Riding Hood has prepared a hitch wagon of fuel cans for her Grandmother, a silver BMW Classic Coupe. She begins driving through the dangerous wooded highway to deliver the wagon.
Rising Action – The Big Bad Wolf spots Little Red walking in the woods and asks her where she’s going with the basket of treats.
A black Hummer H2, a.k.a. the Big Bad Wolf, spots Little Red driving through the woods and asks her where she’s going with the wagon of auto goodies.
Rising Action – The Wolf runs to the grandmother’s house, eats her, puts on her bonnet, glasses, and night gown, and climbs into her bed.
The Wolf takes a shortcut drive to the Grandmother’s garage, hiding her in his car bonnet (make it work, folks), donning her own car bonnet, headlights and outer frame and parks in her garage.
Rising Action – Little Red arrives at her grandmother’s house and sits on a stool at the disguised wolf’s bedside.
Little Red arrives at her Grandmother’s garage and parks next to the disguised Wolf’s side.
Rising Action – Little Red questions all the things that appear different about her “grandmother”.
Little Red questions all the things that appear different about her “Grandmother”.
Climax – Little Red comments on the Wolf’s nose, eyes, ears, and teeth, and he responds by eating her in one gulp.
Little Red comments on the Wolf’s bumper, headlights, side mirrors and grill, and he responds by hiding her in his massive trunk (hey, it doesn’t have to be perfect, okay).
Falling Action – The Woodsman arrives on the scene to discover the wolf dressed as the grandmother, and quickly surmises what has transpired in the woman’s cottage.
A brown Dodge Ram, better known as the Woodsman arrives on the scene to discover the Wolf donning the Grandmother’s outer frame and quickly surmises what has transpired in the old vehicle’s garage.
Resolution – The Woodsman kills the wolf and out step the grandmother and Little Red, happy and safe.
The Woodsman overthrows the Wolf and out drive the Grandmother and Little Red, happy and safe. The End.
Don’t get caught up if some of the items don’t fit (heck, some of mine didn’t). The point of the exercise is the follow the plot diagram of events, take note of the pacing, etc. Comment below if you have any plot practice exercises that you like to use. I’d love to hear about them.
Anyways, I’m rambling again which means it’s time to sign off… Toodles for now. And remember, no matter where you live, take a little time to enjoy the island life! Happy Writing!