New Story, New Tips #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #writetip
The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.
Thank you Raimey!
Or at least a refresher on some old ones 🙂
I imagine we all have our own ways when we want or need to generate a new story totally different from anything we’ve ever written in our pasts.
In my own previous tips, I’ve talked about flash fiction and idea generation based on quick pictures I select on pinterest then combine two to three to get my own visuals rolling strong.
Recently, I’ve come across a new resource called The Marshall Plan Workbook: Writing Your Novel From Start to Finish, by Evan Marshall.
I wish I had this planner when I first started. It answers so many basic questions I clumsily stumbled through. And even if you have your own favorite resource, I thought this one is definitely worth mentioning today.
Where to begin? Genre. Research what the market requires and then the story may begin:
Loosely Define the “Lead”
“A novel must be about one person’s quest to attain a goal and it must be clear that this person’s actions are of primary importance in the story.” (Marshall, 35)
So what does loosely mean? According to The Marshall plan, know the age and sex of the character based on the genre and what is expected in the genre. Some genres may care more than others, like Romance. Romance genres tend to have more female protagonists then male.
Define the Crisis
What event occurs to “upset the normal order of things for the subject of the story?”
We need to know our character’s goal to fix this crisis.
What I really liked from Marshall’s book was the Suppose List to help generate the crisis of the story. I liked the permission given to generate any and all ideas from the news, our lives, people watching or interviews we conduct. I personally started with researching current news in the city where I plan to base my entire story.
I Googled the local city and found a daily newspaper website. Of course it wanted me to subscribe and though I wasn’t interested in paying a subscription for all the stories, I did find the same news on Facebook, which in my opinion was even better.
Keep a Trends Journal
For me, Scrivener will be my hub instead of an actual journal. I’ll use the index card set up and the research section to house pictures, fashion, and news stories I find of interest. Also important to do to help write for the senses is a character photo collage. Then develop a list of mannerisms from studying the pictures and let your mind wander about backgrounds and pasts. All of these mannerisms should relate back to your “Suppose” brainstorm.
Story Goal Worksheet
I’ve seen quite a few story goal worksheets. The one in the Marshall Plan has some specific evaluative checklists to consider after each goal section you brainstorm.
My favorite checklist questions:
_ Will upset lead’s life enough so that he/she must try to solve it?
_ Most logical under the circumstances?
_ If Lead fails, he/she will suffer terrible consequences?
Marshall talks about an excellent point worth noting, “When Not to Do Background Research.”
Marshall questions the length and time of a person’s research relative to the length in planning a believable and intriguing story to the reader of the genre. It’s suggested if we know nothing about a topic and we have a story deadline to meet, we might want to pick something else to write in order to make a year deadline for a publication.
There are so many other wonderful worksheets for specific focus of all the players in your book. Next month, I’ll go over thoughts on romance, and how to know if it’s important to the story or not. 🙂