Part 10: Plot Diagram and Announcements

Dear Reader,

Isn’t it kind of hypocritical that I write a chapter on determination, and then I take off A Writer’s Dilemma for six months? Granted, it was to finish a novel, but still.

So I was thinking that with this book, I could start really getting into the technical stuff that goes along with writing a story, for all of those people who don’t know the ABSOLUTE basics yet, getting back to where I started two years ago. I have a plan, and now I’m going to be updating every Saturday for a LONG time, so anyone who is interested in reading this can maybe learn something.

Author’s note: Right now, it’s May 2, 2015, but if you are on Wattpad, there are some complications while publishing it and this is available tomorrow to you.

Okay, so I thought I would pick back up where I left off, but I’m going to addressing this chapter to those people who love planning things out, or are extremely organized, or just like to know where their story is going before they write it. Some people like to just sit down and write and see where it takes them, and I totally respect that.

For those of you who can’t do that, or don’t like to, there’s this awesome thing that goes into every story, and it’s called a plot diagram. There are many different parts to it, and I will be going into more detail on each of those in future chapters, but for now, I’m going to introduce you to it. If you look at the photo below, you can see that there are many different things listed.*

Picture

Your story will begin on the left, in the box labelled EXPOSITION. This basically is where you introduce your characters, who they are, where and when they are, and the situation they are in. If you are planning to get your story published (not by yourself) then this is the most important part of your book. Even if your book is amazing, agents and publishers usually won’t keep reading after the first page if they didn’t like it. But don’t freak out because there is plenty of time to polish it up.

Then we travel along the line to that little bubble, labelled CONFLICT. This is introduced early in the story because that’s what makes everything interesting. It is the thing making your character change, or pull them into something that they don’t how to handle. In terms of the Hero’s Journey on chapter 4, this would be the Call to Adventure, Refusal of Call, and when that line starts heading upwards, The Beginning of the Adventure.

For example, I just read The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Amazing book, by the way, and it follows this perfectly. It starts out with a main character who is a little different than others, but within the first chapter is contacted by the FBI. That introduces the change, leading to when she moves into a house in an FBI sponsored program with four other teengers who are like her. That was something that pulled me in, as the reader, in. I read the whole thing in one sitting because the conflict was so interesting, and of course, the book is a whole new level of Criminal Minds.

Next are the rising actions. These are the reason that the climax of a well written story is so exciting. The rising actions build up tension and expectations in the story. Say there was a murder, and throughout the whole book, the rising actions tell you that the girlfriend did it. This builds up an expectation in your reader, but if you throw in a twist right after that, and their expectations were wrong, it makes the story so much better. This also works with making the reader think a certain way by adding in little details here and there to lead them in the wrong direction.

This is weird, but this is the way I think of it: If you’ve ever seen the kid’s movie Monster’s incorporated, you may remember the scene where Sully uses a trail of fruitloops to get Boo, the little girl, to go where he wants her to. He leaves a fruitloop on the ground, she sees it and eats it, and then keeps following the trail without knowing that she is being tricked. You need to leave a fruitloop trail of details for your reader to get them where you want them to go.

The rising actions can go on for hundreds of pages, and in the Hero’s Journey, a lot happens. This is usually when the Road of Trials comes into play, but sometimes the climax may be the last trial as well, since is a good way to transition into the climax. The Experience of Unconditional Love will be in the rising actions, too, and even if those are only two steps, they are very complicated ones.

After this, after all of this tension and expectations are built up, that’s when the climax comes. The climax is when all of the details fall into place, when the reader’s eyes are so glued to the page that they forget that it is just a story. This is when the twists are revealed, when you find out who the real killer is, and make the reader gasp. This is usually the most fun part to write (or at least for me it was) and happens towards the end of the book. In the Hero’s Journey, this would be it Ultimate Boon, and maybe the last of the Road of Trials. It could also be the Experience of Unconditional Love as well, depending on what you think should happen in the climax and what kind of story you are writing.

Help From Without is also a very important step in the climax, and may come towards the end of the climax. I would give so many examples for this step, but I don’t want to ruin the endings of awesome books for anyone. The Refusal to Return, and Magic Flight would also be included either in or in between the climax, and the next step: falling actions.

Falling actions usually don’t take up much of the story. It’s the decline of tension afterwards, when everything is over and everyone is trying to get back to how things were before. This part of the story can tend to go really fast and can last anywhere from ten chapters to a page, because this area is really flexible depending on what needs to be said or explained afterwards. I have a habit of making my falling actions into a second climax by putting the Magic Flight and Help from Without here. I’ve gotten good results, too.

Or I think so, anyway. Who really knows?

Unless you’ve read Looking for Lily, in which you would know whether or not that worked out well…

Moving on.

The resolution at the end would be the Crossing, from the Hero’s journey. It would be when everything is solved and put back together again. Of course, this would be where you would want to add in a cliffhanger for your next book because your reader has a sense of security when everything is coming to a nice close. That’s when you can drop in a surprise that would lead them to the next book, because they won’t expect it.

Otherwise, there is the theme, which is another chapter within itself, if I haven’t already written it yet. And if I haven’t written it, it’s coming soon!

Anyway, that’s basically what I’m going to be going into detail on in the next few weeks, among other things, and I hope this helped.

Also, if you are interested, I am currently in the agent-finding process of publication for my novel, the first of the Code Breaker Trilogy. I also have another novella planned for this summer, around the length of Looking for Lily. I’m planning to release the cover sometime in June… but nothing is definite yet.

Come back next week to read more stuff about writing!

-Kelli

*The link from which the plot diagram photo was found is here: http://www.portnet.k12.ny.us/Page/10210 . I don’t any rights to this photo so I’m giving this website the credit, but you should check out that site for more things like it that can help with writing:)

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Part 9: Determination

Dear Reader,

So this is kind of a weird chapter, but I’m just going to go with it.

Okay, so I was thinking about this earlier: How do you really know where you want to go until you start walking?

That’s really deep, so I’m going to think about it in terms of writing. When I first started writing, it was just for fun and I didn’t really think I would ever actually get anywhere with it. I wasn’t thinking that writing a book would be so long and time consuming either.

I literally thought to myself, “It took all of these famous authors years to write their novels, but me? I could so write a book in a month or two.”

I was so wrong. Once I actually started working, I realized just how long of a process this was, and I realized that I had to make a choice. I had to decide to just keep doing this for fun, to not really think anything of it. Or I could put everything I had into this, and I could really make this great. I could put years aside to make this novel something that people would actually want to read.

And in terms of my thought earlier, this was when I had to decide if I wanted to start walking. Until I chose to really try and write my novel, I didn’t really know if I wanted to be a writer. And if you don’t start walking, you can never know if you really want to do something.

It would be different that you ever imagined it, or you may find out that it was just something that wasn’t really for you.

But it doesn’t stop there. I was writing for a couple months before I really decided. I had started walking through the possibility of writing, but I hadn’t seen all of the different paths I could take. I found out that writing was pretty much the best thing ever, to me anyway.

I also figured out how time can feel longer when you are waiting for something to happen, or in my case, a book to get finished. I realized that when people wound out that you like to write, they tend to ask ENDLESS questions.

What’s your book about? What’s it called? How long have you been writing? How many pages is it? Is it a series? Are you going to publish it? Are you finished yet? How do you fit that in with homework and everything?

It drives me insane. I swear, the first couple months I started writing, I literally got asked if I was finished with the book yet fifty times. And I’m the person who can’t keep her mouth shut no matter how hard she tries, so there was no question in me keeping my writing a secret.

But that is something that I’m willing to live with because this is the path I want to go down.

Now, how is this applying to you, you may ask. Well, I think that someone should know what they are getting into before they do it, but with this, it’s pretty much impossible. Every person is going to have a different experience with their writing.

To you, the days may pass in a blink of an eye. They might be long and boring. The thought of coming up with words may make you want to give up. It may excite you. I don’t know because I am only one person.

But I’m telling you this now: If you are planning to write a whole novel, you can’t just dip your toes in. I mean, you can test the waters at first, to see if this is something you want to do. But if you decide that it is, you are going to have to dive in head first at some point, and when you do that, you’re going to find different ways to stay afloat.

Sorry, but I just wanted to share that since I think determination is something important when tackling any big project. I am not in any way trying to tell you how to write because that would be like telling someone that they is only one way to draw a picture. Everybody is different, and so is their writing, their thoughts, their stories, their inspirations, but I hope my experience will help you.

Good luck!

-Kelli.

Ps: Sorry, I thought I published this chapter yesterday, but when I logged on just now I realized it was just a draft. Oops.