A few weeks back, Karen McFarland asked if I could guest on her blog. And I thought you guys may like to read it, too.
Three years ago, I made a decision. To step away from writing articles and write that ‘book’ I’d always planned to write.
Okay, that wasthe easy part sorted out.
I sat down, and for a couple of months scribbled in my note pad and tapped away on my laptop. I gave my finished story to friends, all of who liked it, and began plotting the sequel.
Then I met Kristen Lamb.
Kristen stumbled upon the first chapter, which I’d posted on a blogger site, and proceeded to hunt me down. She pointed out where I was going wrong and offered to help me. Naturally, I jumped at the chance.
We stripped back my story to its very core, and I wrote a background for my antagonist – something I had never done before.
Kristen’s reply, after I nervously emailed it across to her. “Crap, do it again.”
And again I did. Several times in fact. Until, finally everything clicked into place and I created a psychopathic alter-ego.
I’m very good friends with Kristen now. She has the most amazing way of making you pay for her kindness (see picture). I’ve since written two teleplays and currently adapting one into a novel. I’ve plotted my second book, and lead WWBC Team Delta. I apply the Warrior Writer method to every story I plot and wouldn’t consider doing it any other way.
So, without further ado, here is the way to write – Warrior Writer style.
First and foremost – you must have an idea of what your book is about. Knowing the genre is extremely helpful, and what your protagonist wants and who’s trying to stop he/she from getting it will also make things a lot easier for you.
Once you know the basis of your story, you can write that log line. Now, don’t be scared. They are easier to write if you follow this simple rule:
An ADJECTIVE NOUN (protagonist) must ACTIVE VERB the ANTAGONIST before SOME REALLY HORRIBLE THING HAPPENS (stopping the protagonist from reaching her goal).
See my post on Log Lines
A background is a little like a biography. Imagine you were writing your own life story. You’d start from the moment you were born and take the reader up to the current day. Well, a background is the same thing. Write all about your character from the moment they were born, right up to the moment you are about to start your story.
This is a fantastic way to get to know your character, and give you time to flesh them out. Once done, you will have no trouble writing them, or writing their dialogue.
Backgrounds – Who To Start With?
Antagonist – Why? Because they are the biggest problem. Without them in our story, we have NO story.
Protagonist – Yep, you’ve guessed it. Now do the same for your protagonist. Oh, and don’t make them too perfect. Flaws are good! Flaws make us human.
Love Interest and Supporting Cast – Mentors, Minions, Allies and Love Interests all fit under this section. Note: These are characters that aid your main characters. I’m not talking about the guy who shows up in one scene and delivers the post.
You need to ‘bullet point’ your story from beginning to end. Walk yourself through your story step by step. It’s better to hit your dead ends now so you can re-plot, rather than get 40k words in and realise you have to axe 10,000 of them.
Turning Point Act I into Act II
Turning Point Act II into Act III
Get to this point and voila! You have a story to write.
I know most of you may read this and think “Huh? What a waste of time.”
I’ve met people like this and guess what? They are still at the same stage they were a year or so ago. My team mate Piper Bayard and I are living proof this method works. Agents have requested fulls on both our manuscripts.
It’s like building a house. Do the prep-work: dig footings, add cement, lay bricks, and your building will be standing for decades to come.
Good luck with your writing.
Now, let me know if you are a ‘plot and plan‘ writer, or if you just ‘make it up’ as you go along. What works best for you? Have you ever written yourself into a corner?