Hey hi my lovelies! My name is Tanya Hooper and welcome to my blog! This is my space to share anything and everything creative writing and literature based and so if chatty blog posts, embarrassing stories and reviews are your cup of tea then be sure to click the subscribe button. To those of you returning to this blog, welcome back!
If you’ve been following TanyaTale for a little while you will be aware that I am at university. I’ve just finished studying my first year of English Literature and Creative writing and wow am I loving it! So, a little while ago I introduced a new segment on this blog called writers tips and tricks where I can pass on some of the cool things I’ve learnt to you.
If you find this post interesting or helpful, then please be sure to click the like button because every time you do I get notified and my smile grows a little bit bigger. Settle back and enjoy …
Today’s post is on plot. I figured I would split this into 3 parts. 1) Where to get plot idea’s 2) how to develop a plot and 3) how to know if it’s any good. Now obviously I am not a professional writer, I am just a student who is passing on the knowledge I’ve learnt through lectures, workshops and experience so by no means is this “professional” advice so much as it is “friendly” recommendations.
1. Where should I get plot ideas?
Okay, this one for me is easy because I have more idea’s than actual stories. Being a short story writer, I spend less time on more stories than a lot of time on one long book. This is just a personal preference however, it does mean that I need to keep generating new and fresh plots.
a) the first place I tend to search for plots is in my everyday life. As a student there is constantly some drama going down on campus and I do not feel bad using that to create an idea of my own. For example, if a girl had tweeted something bitchy online this might inspire me to write a short story about a girl whose bitchy diary is leaked online ect.
b) another place I find plot inspiration is online. Pintrest is a hot favourite of mine. I literally type into the search bar “writing prompts” and within seconds there are millions for me to choose from. However, with these, I tend to think “is there a twist I can add to that?” because the twist is where a prompt can go from a 2D idea into a 3D story.
c) the third place I get plot ideas are in my dreams. Now this is a personal favourite but depending on how vivid a dream you have depends on how effective this will be. I have super vivid and very strange dreams (e.g. I dreamt my nans house was possessed and the ghost killed me so I could help it pass over) to me this sounds like a great start to a story…
2. How to develop your plot
Developing your plot can be both super fun and super stressful. Some people argue that the idea is the easy part and developing that into a story is where the real writers are weeded out. Now I know that when you have an idea you love you just want to do it justice and so here is how I develop my ideas …
a) the first thing I do is think of a twist. Once I have a twist in mind I then plot out a story which seems to be going in the completely different direction and then find a way to spin it around at last minute. A strong ending is half the battle. An example of this is in one of my recent Short Stories “red roses every where” I decided how I wanted to end the story and worked backwards from there.
b) Another way you can develop your plot is by choosing your location. Putting your idea into a place can often spark it into motion. For example, if your idea is a murder mystery, putting it into a hospital helps to decide who your characters are and sparks further idea’s such as a murderer doctor or patient ect. Sometimes putting an idea into context is all it needs to turn into a fully fledged story.
c) my last tip for developing a plot is to use questions. There are the obvious questions we are taught to use in primary school: who, what, when, where and why? But you can also delve a little deeper. You can question if the idea is strong enough alone, will you have enough to write, do you have another idea you can combine it with. The more you question the clearer what you want becomes.
3. Is my story any good?
So my third major focus when I’m plotting and planning is if the story I am going to write is going to be any good. Now obviously good is a subjective matter however, in my opinion, as long as you are proud of it – that is all that matters. So here are my three top tips on how to be harsh and fair on judging your writing.
a) My first tip is reading it. If you get bored then maybe something needs to be changed. If you are reading your introduction and you are doubling back and having to re-read bits then maybe you need to alter it. However, if you read it through and you are engaged then you’ve clearly made a good start.
b) Can you find a clear ending? If there are a mountain of possibilities of how your story can end then your plot is obviously engaging. However, if you cant find a way to end it – I seem to find that I’ve gone wrong somewhere along the line.
c) my third tip is get feedback. Feedback is my biggest help when I’m writing. I usually get this off of lecturers or workshop groups but even if you were to just send it to your family or friends. Any advice can help you to decipher what works and what doesn’t.
No matter what you do, never give up. No story idea is ever useless some just need more work than others. Persistence is key.
So there you have it, my top tips to plotting and planning. I hope you enjoyed this. If you have any suggestions of your own then please be sure to leave a comment as to help other aspiring writers. I post every Friday at 7pm so I will see you next Friday!