Let me be real with you for a second...I’ve never won NaNoWriMo. *Gasps*
I’ve been participating for several years now, but never seem to make it to the end. I always lose my way around the middle and spend too much time working and reworking plot or scrapping and starting over. Now, I’m not a full-on pantser. I’ve always been a somewhat-plotter. I sort of plot and pants then plot some more and pants a bit. This method, let’s be honest, takes a little too much time, especially when you’re trying to finish the bones of your novel in a month.
So this time around I’m getting serious about plotting...dead serious.
I found this really awesome One Page Novel Formula from the mysterious and flowerful Eva Deverell, whom you can follow on Twitter @EvaDeverell. Her site includes a lot of other great plotting resources too, so go check it out! More specifically, you can check out the one page formula here.
But the basic breakdown is this:
STASIS (Character’s normal mode) 5,000 words
TRIGGER (The craziness that initially rocks your character’s normal mode) 5,000 words
QUEST (Character comes up with a plan and enacts this plan, but not without a few minor hiccups and new information along the way) 15,000 words
BOLT (Character faces a major setback to fulfilling the plan) 5,000 words
SHIFT (Change is starting to take hold in the character) 5,000 words
DEFEAT (Or the “Black Moment” when all hope seems lost) 5,000 words
POWER (Character finds new strength to complete the quest) 5,000 words
RESOLUTION (Character completes the quest and story is wrapped up) 5,000 words
At first glance, I wasn’t sure this formula would work for me. Quests? How does that apply to contemporary fiction? Seems more like a Fantasy/Adventure oriented formula.
But then I applied it to the movie I Love You, Man. (You know, the bromantic comedy with Jason Segel and Paul Rudd) If you haven’t seen it yet, this won’t really spoil it, as the genius of the movie is in the small moments.
So let’s break it down, shall we?
STASIS: Peter’s always been a girlfriend guy, which has never been a problem.
TRIGGER: This reveals itself as a flaw when Peter has no one to tell about his engagement and no groomsmen, let alone a best man.
QUEST: He sets out to find a friend/best man. This doesn’t go well...until he meets Sydney, who is vastly different from himself. (Sydney as Peter’s foil)
BOLT: Maybe they are too different…
SHIFT: But then Peter realizes he’s changing as a result of Sydney’s friendship.
DEFEAT: These changes in Peter cause strife between himself and his fiance, he’s losing in his sidequest, and he’s lost his friendship with Sydney.
POWER: Sydney’s “mess-up” ends up helping Peter and giving him confidence. He reunites with his fiance and completes his sidequest.
RESOLUTION: Finally, he reunites with Sydney and order is restored.
After figuring out how well this worked for a story formula similar to mine (both romantic comedies), I decided to give it a go and it worked out pretty flawlessly.
We’ll still have to see if it helps get me through to the end of NaNoWriMo, but I have a feeling it will. The clear plot points paired with clear word counts for each section, should help reel me in whenever I start to stray or get carried away. (As I write, I tend to get caught up in the romance and forget to put in the obstacles. Oops!)
I'm also using Novelize for the first time this NaNo, so that should be interesting too.
I’ll be sure to update my blog post-NaNo, but if you want to see my progress, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter.
How are you plotting for November? Share in the comments.