For anyone following my work through the 90 Days to Your Novel book, I have been basically been doing two days in one. I must have extra time on my hands.
When I last posted, I’d created character sketches of ten of my characters. Yes, I made it to 15 characters, making this the novel with the most pre-planning I have ever done on minor characters.
Day 4 was about plot. It rubbed my fur in the wrong direction. Ms. Domet states that plot is not a function of planning but rather an organic reaction of the character’s personality to the situations thrown at it. Her suggestion is not to plot out a romance in the traditional 7 point form but to rather choose the character’s personality and let their reactions determine the flow of the action.
I had a few problems with this chapter. 1) As a person who plots the action and then lets the characters play within the structure, Ms. Domet’s theory on plot made me question her beliefs on outlining. If the story will progress based on the character’s reactions and interactions, then why create the formal plot structure at all? 2) I am a boring person. She gave a list of character types and personality traits. The goal was to pick two and write a character sketch. I ended up with a narcoleptic social climber. After getting a grasp on the character, she gave a scenario and asked for brainstorming about the character in the situation. My social climber found a baby abandoned on her doorstep. After collapsing into sleep and waking up to a crying infant, my social climber called all of her friends trying to find the mother or get a ride because she couldn’t drive to even take the child to an orphanage or the police. It was utterly droll in my mind.
The final exercise of day 4 was to make a 250 word summary of the story. I tried. It sounds a lot like the outline I already had. Either I was too stubborn to change, my outline already followed how I thought the character would react, or I didn’t understand the leap in exercises well enough. (Does anyone feel like this is the expanded version of the snowflake method? Because it feels that way to me.)
Day 5 is back to setting and describing setting to portray emotions. One of the exercised in chapter 5 includes researching your setting. I’m setting my novel in future America with flying cars. I wasn’t sure how to research that. My solution, design concepts. Ever looked up images for flying cars, elevated houses, and future race tracks. Very cool things out there.
Day 6 is about showing emotion. Using description to show emotion rather than feeling words. I’m about to start this writing assignment. I’m stoked. I mean, adrenaline’s balling in my throat like a tsunami about to flood my system. Pre-shocks are quivering through my fingers. “Let’s do this.” 🙂