Tag Archives: plotting


WIP:  Agent of Fate

Today’s writing accomplishment lies in overcoming my fear of plotting.  I sat down with my whiteboard and the memories of my NaNoWriMo project and I plotted.

I had already laid out the basics (I usually sum up a scene with 1-4 descriptive words) so today was actually working with that information.  Where did it need work, where could I twist things more, what didn’t make sense and so on and so forth.  Had to use all four colours of my whiteboard markers, too.

Part of me still feels like I should do more.  The rest of me feels like I’ve got a good stepping stone to sorting out this WIP so I can get back to writing.

Guess I’ll find out when I start back into the writing.  But if nothing else, I’m a big step closer to figuring out how I plot.  And that, my dear friends, is the important part.

Okay, that and getting back on the writing train.  😉


Whiteboards rock!

In my work place (I work at a University), whiteboards are so ubiquitous that my office came standard with one, but I had to specially request a corkboard.

Now I’m addicted to them.

I’ve acquired 3 for home.  A small one for planning my week and keeping track of immediate tasks and planning.  Two for story planning.

It would have been one, but then I would have had to erase it to work on my plotting issues on the other WIP (work in progress).  To which I said hell no!  Besides they stack very neatly against each other, so there’s no problem with multiples.

So yes, I use them for plotting, story planning, world building.  Really, any kind of idea generation works so well on that smooth expanse of white.  Even post-its don’t work as well for me as scribbling notes that I know I can just erase, re-scribble and keep going with.  Maybe paper’s just too much commitment for me and my commitment phobia is resurfacing in a strange and peculiar way.  Or I just love being able to scribble where I want.  Either way, I find whiteboards the perfect way to work through all these story areas, particularly plotting problems (my personal bane).

It’s easy to switch colours for different concerns, straight lines for those scenes I’m certain of, dashes for those that may need to get reviewed, changed or moved.  Red notes on the places that I have questions.  Odd random notes in the corners for things I need to remember.  Different colour for the sections I haven’t written yet but have the basic, broadest strokes defined in my head.

Or in other words, whiteboards rock.  So much flexibility. And with digital cameras, it’s no cost and no effort to record whatever you’ve written down before wiping it away and starting all over.

So if you, too, are staring at blank post-its and wondering what to do, consider the power of whiteboards.  Just saying.  😉

Great Plotting: Eileen Wilks

My incarceration by physical injury continues and thus so has my reading blitz.  (Still recovering from a herniated disc.)

This week has been all Eileen Wilks all the time.  And I feel that I have been in the presence of a master plotter.  Yes, her characterization was great:  the characters appealing, realistic and experiencing understandable growing pains as she puts them through their paces.  And her magical world was interesting, cohesive and believable (in the way that all fantasy worlds can be believable).  I’m speaking here of her Books of the Lupi series.  But it was the plotting that blew me away.

To be fair, as a Panster, I’m inclined to be more in awe of someone who is excellent at plotting than perhaps of someone with great characterization.  That said, Eileen Wilks has mad plotting skills.

It wasn’t just the complexity of the individual books.  Though they had that.  The plots were well paced, the twists and turns intriguing.  It all flowed, coherent and tight.  And this woman is a master at ending chapters at a high tension point that has you compulsively going into the next chapter to find out what the <insert your favourite intense word> happened.

What truly awed me was the multi-book plotting that she did.  This author didn’t wait until a character would be necessary or useful to introduce them.  Oh, no, they became a small, integral part of an earlier book and when they appeared in a later book, it was logical and necessary that they be there.

It’s a little hard to talk about this without using examples, but I hate it when people give away spoilers, so please forgive me the generalities.

It also wasn’t just characters.  The advantage of reading a series back to back, or a series’ downfall, is that all of the details are present in the back of my head.  If the wrong age is used, I notice it (and I think that was about the only error I found in the books was a slight age discrepency, though there is a chance I mis-remembered the first mention of it).  If the character is not consistent in small preferences and attitudes, I’m aware of it.

And if they are consistent, I revel in it.

Ms. Wilks did that.  She planted seeds of motivation, of potential trouble, of inconsequential items that are picked up in the next book, or two later, or three later.  When those seeds sprouted and blossomed it made sense on some subliminal level so that as a reader I greeted those blooms enthusiastically because they had been planted so much earlier.  I never felt that she ‘cheated’ by bringing in a needed element at the last minute.

The Lupi books are a tapestry of plotting.  The weaving is complex and thorough and, frankly, if I can handle multiple books half that well–okay, two thirds that well, I’ll be truly pleased with myself.

And yes, in case it wasn’t obvious, I would recommend the series.