Monday, May 26, 2008

Plotting workshop

Kayla Perrin's How to Plot workshop is the final session I'd like to share with you from the 2008 Romance Slam Jam.

Are you familiar with Kayla Perrin's work? Kayla's a USA Today and Essence bestselling author. She's written for several publishers, including Avon, St. Martin's and Harlequin. She writes suspense, romantic suspense and contemporary romance. So Kayla knows what she's talking about when it comes to plotting.

She started the workshop with an exercise. Here's the premise. Your heroine leaves her home in the middle of the night. Answer these questions:
* Where is she going?
* Why is she going there?
* Who will she see?

OK. Take a few minutes to answer those questions, then come back.

Are you ready to move on?

Your first scene has a lot of work to do. It introduces your protagonist, establishes her goal and motivation, and sets up your story's conflict. Where is she going and why? How do these answers fit into the overall story?

Next, Kayla suggests plotting the black moment, otherwise know as your character's ordeal or the story's climax. This helps map where your story's going. The black moment has to be emotional. Emotion pulls readers into your story. Once you've plotted your black moment, ask yourself whether this ordeal is strong enough to sustain your story.

You have your opening scene and your story climax. Now identify at least four major plot points that move your story forward and smaller plot points that help your protagonist's development.

Used wisely, these tips will help you plot a full, multi-layered story.

Happy writing.



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