I’m giving Plantsing another go, folks. I’ve been lurking through some indie author forums and a book kept popping up as fairly well recommended— The Fantasy Fiction Formula— so I went ahead and picked it up. One of the first things I realized is that it’s a book about planning. As we have discussed here, I am not so good at that.
One of the first things she talks about is the most basic part of the structure of a story. She calls it a ‘story plan’ but really it’s the nucleus of the plot. It’s the trunk of the tree from which all the branches of sub-plots and character interactions grow. And she suggests that the best way to make sure that yours is solid is to write two sentences that cover all the important facets of the story, like protagonist and conflict and so forth. For example, here’s how I’d probably have written my sentences for A Demon’s Duty: When he enters a pact to protect a priestess, exiled demon Michael Gilbert must track down the origin of the monsters that threatened her. But can he keep his end of the bargain when Belit, the demoness who bred the monsters offers him a way home to the Demon Realm?
See, that’s nice and concise, and really does kind of sum up the story, I think. And it would have been handy to have this sort of direction to stare at when I got stuck a few times— and I really did get stuck. I could even have written one for May, for her own struggle with grief over her friends’ deaths and her struggle to accept Michael in the first place. In fact, I probably should have, but then it was my first story longer than a handful of pages, so it was a learning experience.
So… for my next few projects, I’m going to try to pull the plot together in some sort of coherent statement like that, at the very least. The book coming up for January has already been written, but the sequel to it is having some trouble and could probably use the guidance. And the rest of them… well.
You’ll have to wait and see.