I’ve wanted to really focus some articles on the writing process to share with others, as I have often cruised the internet reading how others have done certain things, like plotting their stories, coming up with character names etc. I approached a couple of writing groups, and found some enthusiastic writers who were willing to help and provide articles too.
So without further ado, Beth Barany:
I’m a pantser. That means I like to write my stories by the seat of my pants without outlining. The problem was, when I started writing novels, the inspiration for my story and the love of my characters wasn’t enough. I needed a way to figure out the story, but all the standard plot tools didn’t work for me, or not very well. I was still stuck on how to create a compelling story that would keep me and my readers riveted to the page and caring what happened to my dear characters.
One day at a writing workshop, the teacher had us brainstorm our character’s worst fears, and then think of the worst thing after that, and even further, think of the worst fear after that.
I did this exercise and shuttered in fear at all horrible things I dreamed up for my character. And then I experienced an Aha. The Aha wasn’t that I scared myself with my imagination, even though that’s what happened.
My Aha was about using my strength of knowing my characters well to craft the story from start to finish.
So that’s what I do now. I don’t outline, but I do plan. I start the novel planning process for all my novels and novellas with drafting my characters. Then I spend extra time on uncovering their worst fears.
Here’s how you can do the same:
Exercise: “List of 20”
On a piece of paper or on your computer, list from 1 to 20.
Then set the timer for 10 minutes. Now brainstorm your character’s worst fears. Keep moving your hand across the page to uncover worse and more worse possibilities.
You may be surprised at what you discover.
Review your work and if need be, organize the fears from bad to worse.
If you’d like hands-on support to plan your novel for Nanowrimo with your peers and with experienced authors and instructors with 18 books and 5 awards between them — Beth and Ezra Barany, then join us for our next course starting October 1st: 30-Day Writing Challenge to Plan Your Novel.
All the details for the course here: http://30daywritingchallengefornovelists.bethbarany.com/.
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Award-winning novelist and creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany has been making up fantasy and adventure stories all her life. She writes magical tales of romance and adventure for women and girls to transport them to new worlds where anything is possible. She empowers novelists to write, publish, and market their genre novels. More about Beth and her products and services here and a free course: http://bethbarany.com/.