Sunday, August 03, 2014

Plotting Retreat

Yesterday I spent the entire day plotting novels with two of my good writing buddies. It was glorious.

If you have a couple of friends and a spare day, I highly suggest setting up a plotting retreat. It's fairly simple, and works best with about three people. You'll need to clear off your schedule for one whole day - we started at 9 a.m. and went until 7:30 p.m. Here's what we did.

1) Before the retreat, each of us had the concepts for two novels in mind. Homework included working on character sketches, GMCs, backstories, etc.

2) On the day of the retreat, we met at our friend's house. It was cozy and comfortable, and most importantly, there was no dress code! Since I'm still struggling to heal from my recent surgery, I was able to recline the entire time and was quite content (yes, we had chocolate!).

3) Each session is comprised of one hour and fifteen minutes. We set a timer so we wouldn't get off track. We took turns plotting out each person's book. I was first. So, for one hour and fifteen minutes, we plotted out my next novel from beginning to end. Then, after taking a fifteen minute break, the next person went. We did this all day long, stopping for breaks and to eat lunch and supper.

In the end, each of us plotted two books a piece. Suffice to say that we were all brain dead by the time we were done, but what a productive day! There's something about brainstorming with other writers that makes it so much easier to come up with ideas. It also helps you to stay on track and not let your plot wander off into no man's land.

This kind of plotting basically constructs the spine and the bare bones of your novel. It leaves lots and lots of room open for change and development. I'm quite excited because I only had the threads of my next story in mind, but now I know exactly which direction to take it.

Have a great week!

8 comments:

  1. I love plotting! It gives me the illusion of having the story done. ;) I can't imagine doing it with other people, but what a cool way to party! I hope you are recouping well!

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    1. Heidi - It's so much fun. We had a great time. It helps to have other people to bounce ideas off of. :)

      Recovery is super slow. Next item on the agenda: a CT scan to see why i'm still in pain. :(

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  2. What a wonderful idea. And so much fun!
    I've bounced ideas off writing buddies before, but to have time limits and a definite focus would make for a much more productive session.
    I'm stealing this idea! ;)

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    1. Yes, by all means, steal the idea! It's a very effective way to get the creative juices flowing!

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  3. THis is such a good idea (and sounds like marvelous fun)!!! I envy you writing friends close enough to do this with. Hey... I'd be willing to drive to Nebraska if you do this again!!!

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    1. Margo, we are going to make it an annual retreat! We had so much fun and got so much done that we decided to do it every year. :) Come out out to Nebraska! Would love to meet you in person. :)

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  4. Elizabeth Parker3:12 PM

    Yes, it was marvelous! Three heads are definitely better than one in thinking up "What could happen here . . . ?" It's our 1st Annual!

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    1. It was SO enjoyable! Especially the Valentino's pizza. ;-)

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