Monday, 12 September 2011

A Plotter's One Ten Guide

Seriously, some days I hate my brain. New great ideas pop into my head before I can fully digest and implement the last. I need an on/off switch... or at least an idle.

Here's my newest idea. It's the WRITE TEN, WALK/TALK ONE. My way of writing and getting exercise. Because I really need exercise!
I will use an example from my current WIP. Here's how it works:

My daily goal: 1000 words.

Step one: Write the numbers one to ten on my chapter summary page. Each number represents about 100 words (one or two paragraphs). If you're writing on paper, leave spaces between the numbers.

Step two: Before you begin writing for the day, briefly decide what your goal is for the chapter.
In this chapter I want to introduce the main character and her boyfriend. I want the reader to see the interaction between the two but I also want some of the MC's super powers to show themselves, but in a subtle way. I will also introduce the boyfriend's sister and the MC's mother--a single mother who wants another child.

Step three: Here's is where the WALK/TALK comes in. You get up from your computer and walk for a minute around your writing space. (Note: This works best if you're not sitting at Starbucks or in front of people who might think you're crazy.) Now, decide what your opening scene will look like--the first 100 words. Talk to yourself while you walk, it really helps.
Okay, I want to start the scene in the MC's boyfriend's bedroom. They're working on their homework. Well, Chi, my MC, is working on her homework...what homework? Maybe something on the civil war... Anyway, she's working on that while her boyfriend is... oh, I know, playing Angry Birds. But, I don't want to say Angry Birds so I'm going to have to be creative with how I explain the game. I want Chi to be angry with her computer because it's not working so perhaps I'll start my first 100 words showing her frustration.
Step four: Once you've brainstormed for a minute, sit down again at your computer and beside the number 1. write a sentence about what you decided to do. Then, write for ten minutes. Set a timer if you need to and just write. It doesn't matter if what you write is crap, that's what editing is for.
1. Chi gets frustrated with civil war homework and turns to her boyfriend Roman--who is playing Angry Birds--for help.
Xochitl Lawson slammed her fingers down on the keyboard. “I hate computers! They're useless, little things.” She dropped her laptop down beside her on the bed.
She looked up and rubbed her eyes. When had it become dark? The room was now lit only by two laptops. After she uncrossed her legs, she scooted to the edge of the bed. Her boyfriend, Roman Winters, lay on his stomach on the floor. He was busy playing a game—shooting screaming birds at snorting pigs.
“What’s the problem now, Chi?” he asked, not taking his eyes off the screen. “I’ll help you in a minute. I’m almost done this level.”
Step five: Repeat steps three and four another nine times. Not only have you written 100 words, you've gotten ten minutes of exercise. That's a start, right!?


  1. Cool--let us know how this goes! :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  2. Clarissa - Oh, that's an interesting way to meet your writing goal and get some exercise, too. I'll be really interested to see how it goes!

  3. Good luck with your new method, friend.

  4. I'll have to try that! Won't be walking around at work though. Not that my co-workers would think I was any less odd...

  5. This is great! I too have to get up and get moving.

  6. Hope it works for you, it does for many people.

  7. I like your process. It is extremely organized. I have to say that mine is not nearly so. It's all scribbles on a few pieces of paper and much of it is not within the lines.

  8. You do have some unique ideas. This one sounds great. With my brain I'd have to have a recorder with me while I walk/talk so that when I sat back down to write it, I could remember what I had said.

    Thoughts in Progress
    Freelance Editing By Mason

  9. Lol @ "This works best if you're not sitting at Starbucks or in front of people who might think you're crazy."

    Very good plan, though, with bonus treadmill minutes too. I talk to myself all the time when I'm writing.

  10. dang, girl! You are so organized! wow. I bet that really helps. I like the method. I usually go for a run when I get stumped, so exercise does help! And I usually get this great idea when I'm like 4 miles from home, so short exercise = even better! LOL! :D

    Now. How do you say that name??? Xochitl? huh? :D <3

  11. HiClarissa .. I will definitely not try this when I'm out - I really don't want to be walked away into the mists of time and a strait jacket - til they realise I'm only exercising my freedom from my computer!!

    Cheers .. good for you .. Hilary

  12. Wow!!Good luck with this programme - I can truly see your shiny new, fitter and healthier ms already!! yay!! Take care

  13. Definitely a start. Now my main obstacle is too much work, but I am very willing to experiment a bit because you never know what will jog the creativity.

  14. It really does help to walk around and talk to yourself. It's an approach that I use a lot both at my day job and within the privacy of my own home.

    Good luck!

  15. You're so organized! Best of luck with the new routine. :)

  16. Sounds like an interesting strategy!

  17. You kinda lost me after step one :) But I'm not a writer :) and numbers scare me :)

  18. I think this sounds like a great idea! Definitely like the sentence writing about what you will actually write about.

  19. It's good to find something that works. I hope it goes well for you. I plan my scenes while walking outside - half an hour or so - then write it when I get home. It works well, as long as the weather is not too bad.

  20. Clarissa I love your thinking. At least you off the chair and moving.

    I do my best thinking on what to write on my lake front power walks. Thankfully I have a good memory and jot things down when I get back.

    IT works too. I feel great, lost a ton of weight, and I have a clear mind.

    For those whose memories aren't great, why not take the cell phone with you and record your thoughts. That way you won't forget anything and have a go half to full hour of exercise which is needed daily.

  21. I like it Clarissa.

    Just I usually am writing where others can see me so I'll have to work on the walking and talking incognito part.

  22. I'll have to try the walking and talking approach. My cat already thinks I'm a little strange, so why not? :)

  23. Wow, that's a great plan! I think I might be too lazy to actually do the walking bit, though...

  24. I just wait for November then write in one month what would normally take me a year to do... thank you NaNoWriMo... but I like your idea better.

  25. I do something similar during my morning walks. Except, I use a voice recorder and work through what I want to accomplish in the scene I'm working on. Or talk out why the scene isn't working and how to fix it-. I get the best ideas when I'm out for a walk.

  26. I'm going to try this. I need exercise, too. I can see it working well while I plan the chapter. Not so much when I actually write. But we'll see. Thanks!

  27. You are truly a creative soul, Clarissa! I have a punching bag next to my desk...that could be interesting:)

  28. Love it! I often start by writing out my goals for the scene or the writing session, but I never thought to intersperse it with walking. I bet the exercise really gets your thoughts going, too. I'll have to try this.

  29. Hm, I probably could do the same with studying. Just switch it with writing, walking with push-ups, etc. etc.

  30. I would give so much to be that organized. If my life was more settled and we weren't on the move so much, maybe then I could.
    Thanks! It sounds like a great idea...


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