Saturday, June 26, 2010

What If I Just Flip A Coin?

Decisions...decisions...they drive your plot forward. They keep your characters from stagnating out with everyday minutia. They give the story conflict. From Luke choosing to find old Ben Kenobi and ask him what the hologram princess meant to Neo’s decision to, “follow the white rabbit” choices are the kindling that ignites a story.

When I was younger, I used to love those Choose Your Own Adventure books. The kind where you read a chapter and then choose either page 78 if you engage in a shoot out with Ugly Pants Pete, or page 89 if you’re a yellow bellied loser and run off before high noon. The premise behind the books is a great one that I use when I’m stuck in a story.

I write a few strands of “what if” scenarios based on various decisions at a specific moment in my character’s journey. For instance, if my MC is faced with a threat do they run away, run towards it, run a scam on the aggressor? This helps me to see what will happen next…and gives me a bit of insight into my character’s personality as well.

There is a famous author that uses Tarot cards as sort of out-of-the-box brain storming. A friend of mine does her main character’s star chart and figures out what moon is in what house of whatever cusp. A member of a critique group I went to acutally rolled those dice from the Dungeons and Dragons games...I'm telling you - - writers are an eccentric group.

The point is that there are myriad of ways to get over a logic hump or restart a stalled storyline. What works best for you? What was a total disaster? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

By the way, don't forget to sign up for The "Secret" Blogfest over at Tara's- Midnight Ink blog. It takes place on June 30th and should be really interesting.

Until next time…Go Write!


Olivia Herrell said...

Great post, hmm, tarot cards. What an interesting thought. :)

I tend to get answers during my morning meditation or driving around. Which implies sitting back and waiting, your approach is much more direct. I like it.

oh, oh, btw, unless something has changed, Zoe cancelled herblogfest so she can get to THE END of her wip.

Andrew Rosenberg said...

These decisions are easy...what leads to more and deeper conflict?
Figuring out what the choices are--that's the key, isn't it?

And yes that blogfest was canceled. Too bad, it's the best idea I've seen.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I shall correct my side bar and post to reflect that Zoe's blogfest is cancelled. Thanks for letting me know.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I remember those books.
Interesting way to move along the story.

Clarissa Draper said...

I used to love those books. I will checkout midnight ink and thanks for the wonderful thought-provoking post.