Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Here is a brief summary of my notes taken at Susan Wiggs fabulous session, PLOTTING FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

The plotting/pre-writing phase.

-Find your 'white' space. (eg. long walk)

-Make a collage (not an avoidance technique, is part of your 'white' space, being the architect of your story.)

-Make a playlist ('white' space again, even if you don't listen to it while writing it can spark ideas.)

-Focus on a powerful emotion you're experiencing (you don't need a big plot if your character has a big issue/problem)

-Couple an image with that emotion (may lead to something you can hang your story on.)

-Sociogram (what I refer to as mind maps-see previous post on this blog.)

After all this pre-writing, you should have an idea of your main character.
For Susan, this pre-writing phase can take up to 2 weeks, less if tight deadline.

For me, hearing her describe how she uses collaging, etc...(may do it then not look at it again while writing) resonated with how I do my pre-writing. Loads of research, may collage, then don't look at it while writing!

-Go through this process with every main character in your book.

-Take your main character to the point of decision in her life.
(Open blank document, start writing in 1st person present tense, fast writing, where character unloads her baggage/burden she's carrying-great internal problems!)
Also encourages the character's natural voice rather than the author's (about 500 words.)

-Start each day's writing with your character DOING THE NEXT INDICATED THING.

-Self help books also a great source for giving arc of growth for real issues.

Tomorrow, a summary of Kelley Armstrong's workshop, Picking up the Pace.


Anonymous said...

These are really great! And I love Bob Mayer's quote from yesterday's post "Content is king. Promo is queen." And this from Susan Wiggs:"Park your brain & write from the heart. Write from love, fear, anger. Tap into those emotions."

Thanks for sharing!

Lacey Devlin said...

Wonderful ideas. I really like the one about encouraging the character's natural voice before writing. I'm looking forward to trying that in my next pre-writing phase.

Rachael Johns said...

Great plot points NIcola. I was in the workshop too but it's fab to hear another pov. :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Glad you're finding it useful, Aimee :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Yes! I've never done that before, Lacey, could be interesting!

Nicola Marsh said...

Wish we'd had time to chat, Rach.
Conference goes too quickly!