Friday, May 24, 2019

Road Maps for Complex Plots

News: I have a release date for Enemy Within - July 17, 2019. 

I also have a new foster cat. She doesn't have a name yet. She had been dumped at the feral colony a few months ago. She integrated very well with the other cats, so we assumed she was fine, then one day, she showed up limping. We managed to pick her up and run her to the vet. Something bit her - either one of the other cats or a racoon. She's got an infection brewing in there, so she's had antibiotic shots. She'll have oral antibiotics for a few weeks, too. 

She's a sweet girl with a deep love for being brushed. She'll be with me until she's healed up. We'll be looking for a rescue placement for her so she'll have a chance to find a home that won't discard her ever again. 

Complicated plots. That's what we're here for today. You, my friend, have come to the right place. Complicated plots (some might say convoluted) R I. How do I keep it all straight? Pff. Who says I do? 

I absolutely lose track of what the hell I'm doing and have done. But there's almost always a roadmap that I can refer to - not an outline. Character profiles guide my way. Because for me, all plot comes from what the characters need in order to force them into their arcs, all the complications arise from what the characters need, too. I do pretty intense character work, digging into psychology, deep motivation and the bits of my characters' natures that lead them astray.

Any time I lose my way, I return to my character profiles and remember why we all called this party in the first place. From time to time, like the book I just shipped to beta readers, I *really* lose my way and not only do I have to go back to the character maps, I have to redraw those maps entirely while inching my way along the story, trying to figure it out as I go. We'll see what the beta readers have to say about how I did. 

To keep track of specific threads for complex plots, I keep a notebook for each story. Mostly, it's silly notes about DON'T FORGET THE THING! Remember you meant to do x with this event and this character! Stuff like that. It's one of those things - if I write it down, I'll remember it and not need to consult my notes. If I don't write it down, I will only remember that I'd meant to do something cool AND I'd failed to make any useful notes. O_o I do try not to get too het up about continuity until the editing stages. That's really where I get a little OCD about making sure every thread is caught up in the larger weave of story. If they aren't, they either have to be snipped, or woven in and tied. 

It isn't a foolproof process, but it does seem to work for me so far. I hope.