Monday, November 22, 2010

On CPs and Plotting a story

Okay so I totally had a different blog post to do today, but last night I had one of the most amazing brainstorming sessions online with my CP who is a complete plotter.

You all remember the husband is out of time again right? so in addition to one cranky wrist, I am back to single motherdom and a child who has forgotten how to sleep in (I might have to retrain him). So here I am writing the odd 250 words on my NaNo project whenever I can, when I get this gem of an idea start to float about in my brain.
I let the idea stew a bit more, I tell myself then as per usual I would write it down in my lil idea book and continue with my loosely defined writing schedule. The first inkling I had that something was not normal was when my idea started to form in my head and the 1st person I could form was my main character - a girl and she kept on growing in my mind.
I told myself "no biggie" I just have to find her an amazing dude to compliment her, so I started thinking and I got nothing, that was when I panicked.
You see odd duck that I am, I always know my hero more than anyone else, my story always starts with him - if I had my way I would write hero's POV in the whole book, so when I could not find our hero and my heroine assured me her bi-curious stage ended long ago I knew we had big trouble.
So I turned to my CP last night and said hey when you've got a minute I need to brainstorm, I have a heroine but I can't find my Hero - she being the fuzzy scarfed saint that she is jumped on my back immediately and dragged me into Plottersville.
She asked me psychedelic questions like what are his goals, conflict and motivation and me being the prettiest bubble brain in town said Hunh?
so she asked me all about the heroine and made me know her even more, we killed her dad in the process to get her motivated and then moved on to her hero, we started with jobs, what kind of jobs will fit her goal? and even talked about Samuel Adams beer, eventually after some Richard Head jokes, he took shape in my head and he came alive.
In 3 hours I got 10 single spaced outline pages and the beginnings of a migraine yesterday (skating in plottersville was hard but fun) and we have only just scratched the surface, I love this journey and now am off to research body shots and tattoos.
Ever had a WIP change your style to suit its needs?
This is Lavasina, a beautiful Corsican town with clear waters


  1. Interesting. I've only ever written one novel, and all the characters came to me hard and fast, but it is really cool to hear about the processes that others go through.

    Thanks for sharing Joanna!

  2. I'm in a similar battle with my WIP where some pantserish ideas crept up. I don't know whether to make my heroine pregnant in a mental institution as a result of an illicit affair with a male nurse or not get pregnant at all or be hassled by a tomboy in prison and all that, in the name of creating suspense.

    Don't worry, Joanna, just take your time and it will come flowing like a stream.

  3. LOL! I once changed the entire plot to suit the characters. That's how I got True Believers. Your CP is gold. :)

  4. Yes! Characters own us, don't they? We don't have as much control over plotting as we'd like. With them running the show, it's that much harder to keep up with those twists and turns!

  5. Joanna's night in Plottersville - ha, ha. Your CP sounds like a useful angel to have fly in at your bidding.

    I use that routine of asking myself questions about the main character' goals and that can be helpful. Sometimes I think the goals are clear but when I really get down to it,(Plottersville main street) they need re-shaping.

  6. That sounds fun, I’m glad you got your hero. For me, the heroine always comes easy but with the hero I always have to twist my head.

  7. Hey Jo I've been visiting Plottersville myself recently because I found myself stalling in my WIP's. Glad you enjoyed your visit there. Glad you have such a supportive CP you can call on to help you too. :O)

  8. That's awesome! Aren't CP's wonderful :)
    Your photo is gorgeous - I wanna be there.
    And I'll just say if your hero drinks Samuel Adams, I love him already....

  9. I love brainstorming! It's when all the best ideas come. We learn so much about motivations and such. Glad you had a productive night.

  10. I love brainstorming too! My crit group (the minxes of romance, do a lot of it on Skype, all typing away at the same time. The thing that's great about it is then you can save/cut and paste the info to look back over the next day when the plotting tsunami passes over! Love the sound of your new story!

  11. I've had the characters hijack the book!

  12. Boo on migraines. I get them often and they def. interfere with life.I never outline/plan/write any one way. It varies with my mood.

  13. Yes! I've definitely had different stories sneak up on me many different ways. They all seem to have different little personalities, and don't ever do what you expect them to. Some start in my mind with a character, others with a scene or scenario or bit of dialogue. But I will say that generally I'm a pantser who works with a rough outline only most of the time.

    Have fun with your new hero and heroine - when your poor hand will let you!

  14. I've not had a problem with characters--yet--in my short time as a writer. But my first MS gave me plenty of plot struggles (at a time when I didn't know so many other writers were out there!). Glad you had a helper! I always like my hero better than anyone else in my novel! christy

  15. I love plot/brainstorming with CPs because they always see the huge holes in your plot that you can't see because you love your story so much :-)

    Then they help you work out the kinks so it's plausible and you can get on with the writing.

    Good CPs are definitely worth their weight in gold ... I know this as I have several tons of them ;-)

  16. Thats so great you've got a CP who's methodical in helping you plot your characters!

  17. Hey isn't the world of writing so much fun! You sound scarily like me. How we resist those outlines, but gotta admit, they do help! Your CP is pure gold.

    Hope the dodgy hand is behaving along with the ankle biter..:)

  18. No gain without pain?! Or something like that. It's scary when we hear the voices inside our heads. Unless, of course, it's Fabio. Beautiful pic!

  19. A good CP is priceless... we should make a Visa commercial for it! LOL

    Glad she helped you so much. I love a good brainstorming session.

  20. Nothing works for me forever. And that's life, not just writing. Like right now, I love living in Japan, but I don't think I can do more than two more years. lol.

    My first WIP, I didn't plot an ounce- just let the two MC's grow in my brain. The second WIP had Excel spreadsheets. The 3rd, I wrote character bios.

    I already know what the fourth is and that I'm going to immerse myself in research and character (and maybe even some plot- yes, miracles can happen) before I type a single page.


I'd love to hear what you have to say, so go on & make my day