Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Plot, Character and Setting

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been gearing up for NaNoWriMo. Every year, I try and do something a little bit different, something to push me to try something new.

Last year, I wrote my first modern day novel with no fantasy, just actual family relations and dealing with the disease of Alzheimer’s. It was a learning experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. To see what I learned from that novel, check out the link here.

This year, when I started thinking about NaNoWriMo, back in April, I didn’t quite have a story in mind. I used Camp NaNoWriMo to create characters, hoping that at some point, one of them would jump out to me and ask me to write their story. Fortunately, even though it was a frustrating month (possibly because I don’t like spending a lot of time with strangers), I did have two characters whose stories started to meld together.

Last month, I started plotting out the story. It was exciting, the more I plotted, the more I learned about the story. It’s the closest I’ve come to pantsing. I’m not actually writing, but I’m letting the story flow out. The more I wrote, the more I learned about the world, about the situations the characters were in, about the setting. Unfortunately, I kept hitting walls. Moments when I didn’t know where the story was going.

This week, I put aside plotting and character development. I started working on the setting. Getting to know the world my characters were living in. I had to determine how different organizations work, both of my characters are deeply involved in their own systems, and apparently, the plot wouldn’t move forward unless I understood the setting.

Writing out the rules to the magic system

As I continued to build the setting, I suddenly understood my characters so much better. Once I understand their world, I was able to understand their thoughts, their reactions, and their motives. It’s amazing how plot, character, and setting are all so intertwined.

What preparations are you making for NaNoWriMo?