Turning A New Page

So, in keeping up with my 2011 goals, I’ve started a new technique when it comes to plotting.

After putting in a few thousand words on various stories last year, only to realize that I had to scrap the words because the protagonist was all wrong, I’ve started using a POV Character Grid I found in Dynamic Characters to do a little pre-writing brainstorm on all the possibilities.

I know, this may seem like a way to avoid writing but I think allowing the ideas to brew this way will help me to bring in some added nuances and strenghten (or tear down, as the case may be) the relationships between the characters in my stories.

I fully admit that it could get crazy. I mean, if you figure you’ve got 5 characters in your story and the potential for 25 different ways to write the story (depnding on who is the main character and who is the narrator) plus 2 possible POVs to write from (1st or 3rd person), this gives you 50 different approaches you could take (granted, some of the ideas may overlap).

Yeah, it all sounds a little dizzying. And I’m not saying I’m going to do this all the time or ever again if it doesn't work for me. But I’m all about trying out new things this year and giving some added thought to the deeper meanings in my stories is one way I know I can only strengthen my plot (because we all know plot comes from the interaction — and conflict — between our cast of characters)along with my craft as a whole.

So how do you choose your main character? His or her foe? Which POV to write from? Does the story just fall into place with one stronger voice dictating who will hold the reigns? Or do you weigh your options first to make sure you choose the most interesting avenue to explore?

Share your secrets! I wanna know!

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4 comments to Turning A New Page

  • Cate Gardner  says:

    I look forward to hearing how the character grid works and if it does I’m buying. I just picked up a little book on how to create scenes. Learning, learning, learning.

  • Beth @ To the Fullest  says:

    Interesting and intriguing questions.

    As for me, my stories start either with a main character, or with an idea about a specific event in which I can soon easily place a main character. I have never (yet) had to pick a MC from a population of well-formed characters. That would be an interesting problem to have!

    As for POV, I usually write from the past in first person or third person limited by default, but my for my current novel I’m writing in the first person in present tense just because I wanted to see what it felt like. I love it!

  • Tweets that mention Turning A New Page -- Topsy.com  says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heidi L. Ellis. Heidi L. Ellis said: RT @MaryRajotte: New blog: Turning A New Page http://bit.ly/gWIJy9 […]

  • Aaron Polson  says:

    I just make sure the character has a major flaw and/or weakness. Making a MC vulnerable is always a good idea, too. Especially in horror. (Remember the pregnant protag from “In Hollow Fields”?)

    That being said, the idea for the story usually comes first. I have a crowd of characters waiting in the wings…half-formed. Sometimes major revision is in order before the right character finds the story, but it usually happens after the first few pages.

    (thank Miss Write for the awesome review, BTW)

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