It’s a sad day for the Fictioneers. Our great leader, Madison Woods, is going to pastures new and retiring from her post as leader of the group. She’s been a great inspiration and I hope we’ll be hearing lots more from her in other realms, but for now Three Cheers from me.
Madison has passed the baton to Rochelle, so those who like to follow the leader will find prompts on her page from next week. I’m sure she’ll be a great figurehead and I look forward to seeing her prompts.
And as a last link for you, thanks to Ron Pruitt, who provided today’s photo inspiration. So many of the FF prompts are pastoral, that I’m always taken aback to see people in the photo. It provides a different kind of challenge though, and I like the variety. This week, the different challenge was met with a different response in my head. I’m not sure it really counts as a story, but I could hear him talking plain as day when I looked at the picture, so this character had to be recorded.
I’m hoping that this snippet gives you a taste for him and his character, but I don’t know whether I’m overlaying the words with my own impressions. Do please let me know what you think!
“All aboard again!
“No sitting in the luggage racks! We once toured a circus [edited from v1: Lance once took a circus] Found the contortionist in his trunk when we arrived. Smelt a bit after fourteen hours in the Arizona heat.
“No, entirely alive.
“So, on your left, folks, you can see the Oklahoma State line. I say see. You can’t, but it’s there. Behind that barn. Don’t cross that ‘less you want to get blown away.
“No, tornadoes. Not much gun crime in OK; keep that here in Texas. When we reach Dallas, you’ll be seeing where JFK was shot – kinda proud of their heritage, the Texans.”
Planning a novel is as much a matter of personal preference as writing one. Some people don’t like to plan at all, others like to do everything they can to set their novel up so that by the time they actually sit down to write, it’s almost all on the page already. The Snowflake Method is great for the latter, NaNoWriMo’s Dare forums are probably the best place for anyone who wants to just play it by ear!
If you’re still pretty new to long-form writing, a plan can help you to produce a decent first draft, especially if you’re under a time constraint like NaNo. If you’re still developing your craft, trying different methods of planning is probably the best way to find what works for you. Reading the wisdom of published and even prolific writers can make you feel like there is one way to succeed, but I firmly believe that each person has to find their own way, and even if you are trying to become the next John Grisham, his way of putting pen to paper might just not work for you.
So, if you’re interested in planning a novel, try one of the methods I’ve outlined over the past week. Or, try something else. Or, try a combination of multiple methods – you might decide tha tyou want to use just Steps 1 and 2 of Tuesday’s suggestion, and then delve into your characters’ psyches from Wednesday.
There are a hundred (thousand) other ways to plan / outline / plot a novel, and if you feel I missed your favourite, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Similarly, let me know how you get on if you use one of these methods.
For now, I’ll leave you with another option, best suited to a Friday. A few of my fellow Friday Fictioneers are writing long stories in 100 word chunks. Each week, they take the prompt provided by Madison Woods and right the next scene. Check out Craig Towsley’s Owl and Raccoon Fables for an excellent piecemeal example of this, or The Winger Chronicles of Adam Ickes to see how it works doing it chronologically.