Sunday, August 16, 2015

3 Best of AYAP: Structure & Plot

When struck with a shiny new idea, all you want to do is get stuck into creating it into the masterpiece you know it can be. For some of us, that means sitting down and plotting up a storm. For others, it means jumping straight into that first draft. And for some of us, it simply means grabbing a pen and paper and dreaming the day away.

Whatever your preferred method, structure and plot is an important part of making a novel come to life. So whether you're a pantser, or a plotter, or somewhere in between, you'll no doubt find the posts below invaluable. Read on for a collection of posts aimed at shaping your story into the best story it can possibly be.

On Becoming a Planner

"My finished books nearly always differ in significant ways from my initial road map. But the important plot turns don't change. This melding of planning and improvisation is the best balance I've found between the creative license I crave and the structure I need." - Victoria Strauss

On Mapping Your Story

"Find the core nugget, the one thing in our books that we would not take out... [then] evaluate everything else in our book with that core in mind." - Martina Boone

On Drafting with an Outline

"The question of outlining in novel-writing is generally very polarizing. Some feel strongly that outlining hampers the creative process; otherwise swear it’s the necessary hand that holds ours through the duration of the first draft." - Anna Collomore

On Finding Story Beats

"A beat is the timing and movement, referring to an event, decision, or discovery that alters the way the goal will be pursued by the protagonist. Key word is, alter. It needs to be big, powerful." - Ara Grigorian
"To see what’s wrong with a story, we have to look beneath the words. We have to examine the concept, the shape, the balance of the layers, the way the flavors come together, the texture, and yes—the artistic quality of the frosting. We need to evaluate the key ingredients." - Martina Boone

On Knowing When to Let Go

"It’s not that I don’t understand plot. I totally “get” character arc. In my mind’s eye, I see turning points and crescendo. I’ve plotted a hero’s journey before starting a book... I have made detailed time lines based exclusively on the historical facts of a story. And then it all falls apart when I sit down to write." - Katherine Longshore

On Prologues

"You should always strive to be confident in every page, to the point where you should never need a crutch like a prologue. Instead, the beginning needs to be amazing. Not necessarily adrenaline-filled, not necessarily action-oriented. Just damn good." - Seth Fishman

On Action and Reaction

"Pulling the reader by the heart from the beginning of the book to that climax, scene by scene, is the key to successful writing. Ultimately, a book isn't about beautiful descriptions or sparkling prose. It's about action and reaction, which is all a response to conflict." - Martina Boone "There’s one thing we stress over like no other because so much rests on its small and elusive shoulders, one thing that if we don’t get it right, renders the rest of our work irrelevant because it likely won’t get read: the hook." - Natalie C. Parker "The truly great scenes, the ones I remember, play in my mind like a film. I can see the action, but unlike film, a novel also lets me smell the coffee, and taste the fear or sorrow... the emotion is right there close to my heart." - Martina Boone

On Ending

"Great endings make you sigh, tear-up or smile. They make you sad for the book to be over, and they make you want to flip the pages and go back to the beginning and start again. Great endings are, simply put, satisfying. If only they were simple to write." - Amy Fellner Dominy

What do you think? Was there any advice that particularly resonated with you? Any posts you think we've missed that should be on this list?

Want to read the rest of the series? Click here!

3 comments:

  1. Boy, love that last one on Endings. Especially the wish they were simple to write!

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