Monday, September 13, 2010

In Search of Structure

I've always believed that structure is good for kids. They need to know where the boundaries are and how much freedom they can have within those guidelines.

Turns out what's good for kids, is good for writing, too.

I will probably never be one of those people who plots everything down to the last detail. It's just not in my nature. But I think knowing some of the boundaries of my story will help me write a better book. (And just for the record, I'm completely jealous of you people who can plot everything down to the last detail!)

I've already blogged about the wonderful screenwriting book I read, Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. I also subscribe to Martha Alderson's newsletter and read her blog, The Plot Whisperer. Martha has taught classes and written books on plotting blockbusters. Last week she sent out an email announcing her new YouTube channel where she has started "teaching" a series on plotting your novel, memoir or screenplay. So far there are five episodes up. Each one is less than ten minutes. And did I mention, this is all FREE?!

Here's what she's covered so far:
Just to give you an example of the brilliance she shares, in the second video she explains that not only should your character be flawed. That flaw should also keep them from getting what they want. I've always known that perfect characters are kind of boring to read about. But giving the MC a flaw that makes it harder to reach their goal is great advice!

If you're starting something new, or trying to revise a second draft, I highly recommend watching these videos and reading Martha's blog.

And now,  I return to my cave for a (hopefully!) uninterrupted day of plotting and writing...

I can dream, can't I?

20 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

enjoy the cave! And yep - LOVE the Plot Whisperer

Laura Pauling said...

I'll have to check out those videos - thanks! And have fun in the cave. WAtch out for bears!

Clarissa Draper said...

They sounds like wonderful videos. Thanks. And have a great writing day.

CD

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Thanks for sharing these videos...They sound great!

Deb said...

Thanks so much for sharing this!

KarenG said...

Just the word structure makes me exited, had to rush over to see what the post was about!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Sherrie. This is very useful. Enjoy the cave time. ;)

Kristan said...

Ooo, that flaw-as-obstacle idea IS genius!!

Thanks for sharing these great tips. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Awesome! Thanks for the links. I haven't been following the Plot Whisperer's blog. How did I not know about her?! :-)

Lori W. said...

This is so great, Sherrie. I can't wait to check out the links. Really trying to experiment w/having more of these plot answers in my head BEFORE I get a full draft done. Thank you!

Jackee said...

I LOVE the Plot Whisperer and am trying to follow her step by step system she gave last fall with my Jedda Hitler book.

But I didn't know she had a Youtube channel! Thanks for the heads up!

Enjoy the writing cave, Sherrie, I hope it's uninterrupted as possible. :o)

Julie Dao said...

Thanks for sharing the blog, I will have to check it out! Good luck with your writing :)

Carolyn V. said...

That is so great! I would love to watch those! Thanks for the link Sherrie.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks for the links! And flawed characters are fun. Every personality has a weakness - or several dozen.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Ooh, I'm definitely going to check them out. I outline, but not to the last detail. I love the flexibility of not being so rigid in my plotting.

Okay, time for me to head back into the cave, too, so I can finish my current project and start something new (after I watch the videos). :D

SAMUEL PARK said...

Terrific post. You're absolutely right about structure. I personally couldn't live without it, in life and in writing.

jennifer.harrell.scott said...

Just discovered your blog and love it! (I absolutely adore the title ;)

Thnx for sharing.

PJ Hoover said...

I saw one of her videos one time and really enjoyed it. I should watch the others, too!

Cinette said...

I love Martha! She's an incredible fount of knowledge.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

BTW, my kids think "Save the Cat" is the best title they've ever heard.

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