Hero still your Hero?

Posted On Oct 21 2013 by

If you’ve been following along with my NaNoPlotMo posts, you’re probably working out the goals for each of your characters. Maybe you’re even on to the story beats that you’ll assign to each character’s goals. This is another good place to hit the pause button and take a look at your protagonist. Is she still the most interesting character in your cast? Does his job seem a bit ho-hum? Here’s a quick test: if you had to spend a year with no other person but your protagonist, would that feel you with great anticipation or horrifying despair? The reason I …


Hitting Pause

Posted On Oct 19 2013 by

Okay, if you’ve been following along with NaNoPlotMo, you should be busily creating goals for each of your characters. If you’re using a spreadsheet, you’ve got a list of generic goals down the left side: Story Goal (catch the bad guy, get away from the cops, solve the murder, save the universe, survive first date, etc.) Career Romance Marriage Kids etc. Along the top of your spreadsheet, you’ll list all your major characters. That’s any character that shows up in at least three scenes. If you’ve got too many characters–say more than eight–then you can probably combine a couple. The …


Creating Story Beats

Posted On Oct 17 2013 by

Welcome to Day 7 of NaNoPlotMo. By now you should have a list of characters and goals assigned to each one. You may have done this with a spreadsheet or table in Word. You can continue to do so, but it may be easier to switch over to index cards. Here’s why: we’re going to create at least three story beats for every goal. Each index card will contain one beat. Eventually, we’ll lay out all those story beats in some kind of order. You’ll do a lot of moving around of your story beats. You can do this on …


Your Supporting Cast

Posted On Oct 16 2013 by

Welcome to Day 7 of NaNoPlotMo. Today we’re going to build our supporting cast and give them goals. Keep in mind that a major character is one who appears in at least three scenes. For the novice writer, we want to keep that cast to as few as we can get away with. Each genre has different cast requirements. In general, though, try to keep your cast to 5 or 6, besides the protagonist and antagonist. Goals make your story You’ve created a list of goals for your protagonist and antagonist. If you create a table, you can list the …


Your Hero’s Goals

Posted On Oct 15 2013 by

We already talked about your hero’s story goal. Kill the shark. Save her son. Get through the blind date. But if your hero has one goal, what you have is a short story, not a novel. Every hero has multiple goals. She should have more goals within the story than any other character. There’s no hard and fast rule, but I’d say five to seven goals is ideal. They don’t need to be complex. In Liar Liar, one of the hero’s goals was to get his dog to go potty outside. But here’s the kicker: Every one of these goals …


Antagonist Arc Plot

Posted On Oct 14 2013 by

Welcome to Day 5 of NaNoPlotMo. Up to this point, the order in which we developed our stories hasn’t left much room for variation. You could, as some do come up with a great protagonist first, then develop the plot from there. Some call this a character-driven story. I would argue that all you’ve done is use a character as your initial idea instead of some other story element. All stories need plots. All need characters. But now you have a choice. You can continue to develop your protagonist. He’ll need more goals, a backstory, a dark moment, a big …