I didn’t have time to post about this yesterday, which was Day 4 of the online Plot Your Novel in Just Five Days workshop I’ve been working my way through. So I guess I should recap it now.
Day 4’s lesson was about defining some of the minor challenges (the intermediate ones that go in between the major ones we already came up with. We were asked to come up with some of the challenges or obstacles that go along one “leg” of the story’s journey, and plot them on the diagram we made the day before. For each one, we were supposed to doublecheck each plot point to be sure that each scene is essential, in that it raises the stakes, advances the character along his or her arc, or advances the plot. Or even better, does all three.
The questions asked on the Facebook page this time were more about what we’ve learned this week than about the specifics of my plot: “In the past four days, how have your beliefs about plot shifted? Did you come in believing you couldn’t plot and now you can? How have you changed?”
Overall, I don’t think I learned anything new about plotting. But I did get some guidance on reframing my way of thinking about the plot of my current manuscript. My answer: “I wouldn’t say my ideas about plot have shifted. But the discussion has helped me realize I need to increase the urgency at a particular turning point in my book, so now I’m adding a time limit to put more pressure on my characters.”