Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Road Map...of Writing

Read any article on tips for writing, and they'll tell you to write however makes you comfortable. Don't like plotting and researching? You're a pantser. Can't stand starting a project without researching every single little detail, mapping out a 5 page character profile on each character, and detailing each occurrence? You're a planner.

Me? I'm both. I might research something if I feel I don't know enough, I might write a character profile to make sure I keep the character consistent throughout the book. But I never go too far. If I research too much I'll loose heart for the story and drop it.

When I was writing Legacy, I researched very little and plotted even less. I sat down and wrote out the whole thing without any background whatsoever. And now that project is sitting in the first round of revisions and edits for 2 years, and will most likely be there for several more months.

The project I'm working on now is much easier to edit once it's written. Not that editing is easy. Far from it, but it must be done. It's easier because I have a plot map- a road map of the story.

Essentially a plot map is an outline, list, or some such thing that leads you through the story. For example:
                     1. Chapter 1
                                  MC does ordinary thing
                                  something happens
                                  problem within story shows itself
                     2. Chapter 2
                                  gain new info
                                  questions are building
                                  character introduced

And so on and so forth. If you do nothing else for planning your project, this is something that will help you in the long run and make editing so much easier. The time spent doing this is well worth it, and this coming from someone who hates planning with a passion.

And ti only takes a few minutes to do it. As you write, take a few seconds to jot down an important event, or what you think is an important event. Then keep on writing. Separate it into chapters so you can find what you need later. Want to add or take out a scene? Go to your road map, find the chapter and boom: no more reading 10 chapters trying to find this one thing you really want to change.

You can add in notes to the map, such as character development, characteristics of a place or person, note the setting for a particular day within a chapter. Doesn't matter, it's up to you.

These links ^ are very basic and can be a start up to what you really want. For more resources you can go here:
I use the tips provided by NaNoWriMo all the time, especially the workbook listed at the very bottom of the page. Ignore the grade levels of the workbooks because they really do help no matter what age you are.

If you want to know more, visit other sites. Research how to plan a writing project. Join a community of writers and spread tips and pick up more.

But remember" You are the writer and no one can tell you how to do it. Tips are jsut advice and you can take it any way you want.

Got some websites or articles you like to use? Share them and your experiences in the comments below!


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