Seems kind of funny, doesn’t it? Who would’ve known that a fantasy role-playing game would teach me how to plot and write stories? Not me! More importantly, I realized that there was a freedom in knowing what I had instinctively started doing after I wrote my fourth story. When I mentioned my hybrid status to other published authors, I was surprised to learn how many other authors also learned to plot because of role-playing games. For me, I’ve become a better writer because I’ve become a hybrid—a plontster.

LOL! Yet, the concepts I learned from not only playing D&D as character player, but also in being the DM (dungeon master) who created and ran the modules, helped me to find a way to not only plot my books, but do so in a manner that doesn’t take the fun out of writing from “Once upon a time” to “The End.”

When it comes to workshops, I’m of the school of reason that says, “Take what you can use and toss what you can’t.” Don’t feel pressured that you should do exactly what I say in order to be a successful writer. I’m presenting some tools to help you become more effective in your writing, nothing more, and nothing less. I won’t even take offense if you choose not to use any of the points I present. The goal here is to give you some new ideas to boost your writing so you’re producing quality and perhaps producing faster.

I can see pantsters worldwide shaking in fear that I want to make them plot their story to death and kill their muse. I promise that isn’t the case. *Crosses heart and pinky swears* I would rather walk on fire than have to plot my books to the nth degree. I have a hard enough time trying to write a synopsis for my stories, since it’s nothing more than a short story version of the finished story.

When I first started writing, I wrote from beginning to the end, since I’m linearly oriented. However, my routine of how I plot to write is definitely not as linear. For the purpose of this workshop, we’re going to start at the beginning—for most people, this is a loose idea for a story and creating a character for the story. Then we’ll move into how to take that idea and creating a workable framework that allows me to make changes when necessary if a character takes a path not planned. Within it all, you’ll discover that these preplanned items will get your muse eager to get the story written.

So, now that I’ve set out what we’re going to learn, it’s time to start at the beginning. It’s time to create our character.