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View Full Version : Lesson 8: Plotting the Blurb and the GMC



Cynnara
March 24th, 2009, 01:15 PM
Take that blurb of yours and see what points in it already fit the plot points we need to cover in this journey. This is also where your character sheets earn their keep. I use my Plotter worksheet, but you can even use the traditional outline format or even index cards.

My plotter is simple to make and use. Itís fairly simple; make three columns on a sheet of paper. The first column is for chapter numbers, and what I call my reminder statements ala the plot points mentioned above. In the second column, I write in a sentence, a paragraph, or even a list of things that must be touched upon in this section including the possible outcomes. The third column is for when Iíve written that chapteróI put in the outcome and notes on items used that must be foreshadowed elsewhere and any other comments I need for later chapters. Sometimes I create a fourth column to manage where I might need to go back and layer further information in regarding the senses and for continuity purposes.

Notice that I spoke about possible outcomes in regards to the plot points. Possible outcomesóinteresting phrase, isnít it? What does this mean? Well, in a RPG, youíll discover that a module done by a DM doesnít have step by step things covered. Instead itís loosely plotted with lead paragraphs leading to these points. How they turn out depends on where and what happens next in the story as well as choices made by the player characters. Free will and the roll of the dice determines who lives and who is hurt. The player characters have the right to choose how they face the events before them and not feel that theyíre being pushed into a premade story that has no give in it.

How does this relate to you? Instead of following a detailed outline that tells you how the characters got from point A to point B, you have a guide telling you that they meet here, and by the time they get to this other place, they have to face something and perhaps fail. How they journey to that point is up to you, your muse and the characters. When you get stuck, you can read over the plotter and use the turning points and the character sheets to help provide insight into what will move the plot forward and continue the journey.

See, in a RPG module, youíre given blurbs before each area you enter that relates to the essence of your journey and hints of what you might face. The plotter gives you the same thing- allowing you to way to prep the things you know the characters must deal with while at the same time, allowing for spontaneity and moments of inspiration to take the story further.

How much do you put in each point? That depends on you and what you feel you need to remember in regards to the plot itself. I normally jot down what is to be faced, who itís aimed for, if they should succeed or fail, what they learn from it, what they failed to see, and what I need to foreshadow for later in the story. Sometimes it might be just a few sentences and some abbreviations like- Conflict- Taja. GMCóInternal #2. She is seduced and is distracted as an unknown person tries to attack her and Adras. Adras faces who and what Taja is as a Were. Note- Frelin is the attacker and is dealt with, though it doesnít stop him. But it does give Taja a pause because she has to wonder if her people are truly at risk or if itís just her personally.

Once Iíve completed my plotter, I go back and colour code my points. I learned this technique from Cherry Adair in one of her RT workshops. Itís helped me to make sure that I donít overdo too much of one thing and not enough of another. Each goal, motivation, and conflict has a colour. The romance in the story has another colour. If thereís a mystery element to the story, everything relating to that mystery has that colour. The physical action has a colour, just as the emotional growth does. I go through and make coloured dots in the chapter column, allowing me to see what points are in that section. Then, once Iíve written that chapter, I go back, double-checking that Iíve covered those points and adding others if theyíve been used.

What does this do? It allows me to keep track of plot points and to keep it balanced so that the story flows easily. By doing that, you can see where you might need to add some flashbacks to cover why the character reacted to something they experienced in a scene, but you hadnít explained why. It also shows you where youíve foreshadowed certain things and how the subplots were resolved. If you have too much of one colour and not enough of the others, then you can go back and add the other colours in there, thus deepening the story.

Cynnara
March 24th, 2009, 04:10 PM
For those of you would like a copy of my plotter, you can email me at cynnara AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do) Put PLOTTING WORKSHOP in the subject line and I'll be glad to wing one your way for your own use.

Eva Lefoy
March 24th, 2009, 04:26 PM
For those of you would like a copy of my plotter, you can email me at cynnara AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do) Put PLOTTING WORKSHOP in the subject line and I'll be glad to wing one your way for your own use.


Cynnara,

What format would that be in? Excel?

Thanks

Cynnara
March 24th, 2009, 05:08 PM
Nope.... document or in pdf. *grins* I made it for both. It's a simple and printable format.

Red Dragon
March 24th, 2009, 06:36 PM
I'll email you today. That is very generous of you.
Rusty

Cynnara
March 24th, 2009, 07:22 PM
Trust me, it's the least I can do for all of you who've been either actively or lurkingly participated! For me, it's the act of paying it forward- something that makes me happy to be part of.

rebelheart
March 24th, 2009, 11:45 PM
Thanks, Cyn! I need all the organizational help I can get.
Will email you shortly.
Julie

Eva Lefoy
March 25th, 2009, 12:17 AM
Once Iíve completed my plotter, I go back and colour code my points. I learned this technique from Cherry Adair in one of her RT workshops. Itís helped me to make sure that I donít overdo too much of one thing and not enough of another. Each goal, motivation, and conflict has a colour. The romance in the story has another colour. If thereís a mystery element to the story, everything relating to that mystery has that colour.



Cynnara,

I get confused when there is more than one character. Say I've character A and character B. Character A has a certain G and Character B has a certain G for their meeting. How do you show that? Do you put one dot for each person's G's?

Thanks,

Yakkity

Eva Lefoy
March 25th, 2009, 12:26 AM
For those of you would like a copy of my plotter, you can email me at cynnara AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do) Put PLOTTING WORKSHOP in the subject line and I'll be glad to wing one your way for your own use.

Cynnara,

If I sent you a copy of an Excel file that I've been attempting to use, could you take a look at it and tell me where I've gone terribly, terribly wrong? Or, if it can be improved? (actually be made useful)

This is another one I started then got stuck and then tried to plot, etc. Maybe I should have the lobotomy before I write instead of during the middle of the book!

Yakkity

Cynnara
March 25th, 2009, 11:33 AM
Sure, Yakkity, send it to my email addy. I'd be glad to look at it for you. Sometimes we can get over involved in points instead of making them simple to keep track of.

Cynnara
March 25th, 2009, 11:37 AM
I'm taking a short break today-- hitting a local winery. *grins* But when I get back, we're going to dive into taking those points I mentioned and taking our chapter plotters and index cards and working to put those GMC points and the movie trailer into play.

Yes, I know this seems overly involved-- but I will say this- when you get the hang of it-- it takes about 2 hours to do all my character sheets and about an hour to do my blurbs and then about another 2-3 hours to plot. After that-- I'm ready to write! So it's about what it might take you on one full day off with no interruptions. It's a small price to pay to have a guide and yet being able to free write!

Cynnara
March 25th, 2009, 06:58 PM
The winery was fun and I'm so amazed it's only 20 minutes or so from where I live. Depending on where in the US you are-- they do ship! http://www.keelandcurleywinery.com