No I’m not talking about the basketball team. I am talking about my newest WIP (work in progress) tentatively titled “Ingram”. The plot is shaping up quite nicely now that I have direction and guidance from none other than Holly Lisle, author of The World of Korre series, The World Gates novels and many others (see post).
I have been able to do something that I hadn’t before. I have been able to sit down and actually plan out where this story is going. I knew where I wanted to start and how it would end, but didn’t know how I was gonna get there. Now, I’m on the path. The game is on. I’m mapping out the journey as we “speak”. And to top it off, the book has turned into a series. I’m so excited I could dance on hot coals!
I am finding that there is a lot more to creating a plot than just figuring out “who done it”. I have to come up with these really amazing little things called scenes. Scenes are, in essence, the different little streets and highways that we take during the journey of the story from start to finish. Scenes are what drive the story forward.
Scenes consist of speed bumps and road blocks called conflict and resolution and hills and valleys called stimulus and response. Without these four components, it’s real easy to write a snooze peace that readers will gladly toss across the room and never pick up again. Mastering these four elements, as I am “told” by Holly’s courses and the late Jack M. Bickham’s Elements of Fiction Writing: Scene and Structure, is essential to creating stories that readers will become addicted to.
If you’re not sure if you are using these four elements, sit down and read a scene from your story. Is there a specific question for that scene (such as will Lilly be able to escape with her life. ) If so, is there a resolution at the end of the scene? Do you see situations where someone says or does something that elicits a response from another character? Are your stimulus/response structures backwards? Can you as the reader see the conflict between either the characters, character and environment, planet and environment, etc…?
Take the time to really look at your scene and ask yourself, if you weren’t you, but a normal reader, would you be intrigued enough to continue reading? If the answer is no, then maybe you need to go back and make sure the four elements are present. If you’re not sure how to do it, the above listed book by Jack M. Bickham as well as a wonderful course by Holly Lisle, titled “Create A Plot Clinic” could really help put it in perspective for you. I know that it has for me.
I can’t wait to write the next scene of my book and find out if the antagonist gets tossed out of an airlock. This is gonna be fun!