Set-Up for the Plotting Crash Course
(WARNING: Spoilers for The Dressmaker’s Secret. May also be minor spoilers for Ivy Introspective. And possibly for At Her Fingertips, though I’m doing the best I can to make sure they stay out! If you see one that shocks you, give me a good yelling at.)
A few things you ought to know before you start reading:
- I don’t know what I’m talking about.
- I do realize this isn’t the right day for this post.
- I’m immensely proud of myself for my achievements. Ignore me if I sound egotistical; Adele and I are working on it.
Excited? I know I am! 🙂
To get started, here is the stuff I gathered together to take with me on this crash (and I do mean it!) course.
My Plotting Supplies List:
- Two brand-new, never-before-used notebooks
- Four unsharpened, beautiful, perfect pencils.
- One hot-pink zebra-striped bag.
- One pencil sharpener.
- A little clear plastic bag to hold the pencils and sharpener in.
- A sharpie (added in later)
- A pair of nice scissors (added in later)
- A roll of tape (added in later)
- A camera to take lots of pictures of my supplies with. 😛
Originally, as you can see, I had some colored pencils and some markers … but I didn’t end up needing them, although I did use them a little before realizing they were a bad idea. Also, I added some things to my plotting list after I did the above photo shoot. I’ll talk about that later on in this post.
I also needed to gather together all the information I could find on At Her Fingertips:
So … yep. Lots of random notebooks and scraps of paper with stuff on At Her Fingertips in them. There is something very beautiful about going into NaNo Prep with merely a plot bunny … or just a vague idea … or even just starting planning originally with intent on NaNo …
With this important step finished, we can move on. (What? I like to be thorough … which is something I literally didn’t realize until my friend pointed it out to me on the phone today … I’m so lame; I never know who I am until other people tell me! XD )
Time to begin!
(This is when I realized that a marker simply wasn’t going to stay on the front of a notebook without smearing … so …)Yep. The power of sharpie. XD
Here’s what I did:
- Put my name, email address, and website on the inside of the cover. Because it belongs to me now. I own it. *fistpump*
- Wrote ‘Character List’ at the top of my first notebook. Took an amazing picture of the words ‘Character List.’
- Made a list of the characters. (If you’re prepping, by the way, I’ll mention here that it’s always best to make a list of your characters before you do anything with them. I also added their relationship to the MC.)
- Also add animals and mentioned people onto that list somewher (you know, if it’s part of a series, and you mention ‘Oh, yeah, the Ryders? Yep, they moved to their farm and they have six characters now. Mm-hmm, they’re the main characters from book one … wait, did I just break the fourth wall?”
More pictures of my progress in the creating of my character list:
This done, it was time to really define who my characters are. I’m big into thorough character development. I do it before I thoroughly develop the plot … and usually more thoroughly than I do the plot in the end.
You see, my characters are always, always, always in the back of my mind. I read poetry and think, “This is something Alice would detest,” or see some beautiful in nature and think, “Ivy would like that.” I say something, and I’m like, “Troy would have said that.”
So … this is the easiest part for me. And I make it a policy to get all the easy stuff out of the way first, bad as that policy may be. 😛
The Most Important Things You Need To Know About Your Characters:
The ‘Big 2 Sentences’ is what I call them. I don’t know if I heard about them somewhere or made them up myself, but I start my characters from these two sentences.
Here are some example ‘Big 2 Sentences’:
Alice Knight, main POV character: Alice is independent, intense, and organized. Her main goal is to marry [read: marry richly] before the Season is out.
Ivy Knight, Alice’s twin sister (and dependent): Ivy is quiet, simple, and empathetic. Her main story goal is to stay as close to Alice as she can, so to enjoy every moment of having Alice ‘all to herself.’
As you can see, first I state three words that describe the character. I never use the same word twice. For instance, if Ivy is quiet, no one else in the story can be quiet, too. Oh, ‘quiet’ can be one of their character traits, but it’s not one of their three main character traits. This challenges me to get more specific. Is Ivy shy, is she thoughtful, is she simply empty-minded? What is it that makes Ivy quiet?
What kind of smart is Nettie? Book-smart? People-smart? Wise-smart? Clever-smart? Nerdy-smart? I never realized before that smart is such a vague term!
And why is Mr. Knight so doggone cheerful? I have yet to come up with a reason … he whistles while he walks, and I have no explanation whatsoever.
Yes, I do realize I let my characters get the best of me time and time again …
Second, I state the character’s main story goal. Not all characters have a main story goal, I realize. In fact, some of the characters on my list don’t even have three words … but only because they’re placeholders (like Cassie’s parents).
However, if the character has a goal (or a reason for being in the story) I put that here.
I didn’t bother go into reasons for being in the story (if I had, I could have said that Ned, Caleb, and Jackie are comedy reliefs, Mrs. Knight is (sorta) the mentor-ish character, etc.). I try to keep to basics for the Big 2. That means characters that aren’t basic characters (such as the O’Connells and Alice’s younger siblings) don’t get much attention right now.
I typed these up on the computer (it’s a much cleaner look, and I love a cleaner look) and then printed them. They only took up one sheet of paper using a tiny font. After that …
After fiddling around with colored pencils and markers, I ended up with this:
But I’m not using colors anymore because of this:
Yep. #embarrassingmomentswhensomethingdidn’tlookascoolasyouthoughtitwould #imsuchadweeb #brownisverydark
But despite the color crisis, this looks pretty cool:
Well, that’s all for today. I’m ready to start filling out character charts, which will be the subject of next week’s post, assuming I can actually get it finished. 🙂
Before we go, I should remind you to …
VOTE FOR ME!!!