Do you remember, when you were younger, reading those straight-up AMAZING books called, Choose Your Own Adventure?
For those of you who missed out on that experience, they were books that when you got to a decision point in the story, you had to make a choice on how you wanted the story to continue.
If you decide to explore the ledge where the Seeker has come to rest, turn to page 6.
If you decide to cut loose from the Maray and dive with the Seeker into the canyon in the ocean floor, turn to page 4.
They were the best fun as a kid. I would always go back and pick another option to see how the story would change.
When you’re outlining your novel, or working on any part of it, think of your structure a bit like that. Many times, when we’re writing, we think there is only one way for the story to go—and that’s the way we have already predetermined in our heads.
But consider all the possibilities and options and the potential richness that can add and the dimension it gives. Let’s dive a little deeper.
Your map may end up looking a bit like a tree. Wherever it is your stuck at, write a quick blurb about the scene. Then, branch out with all possible reactions or choices to that scene, then, from the next turning point, all possible options. Don’t just pencil in what you think is right or what will benefit your plot easiest, but all options.
Then, get in the headspace of your character. Consider them and their drivers (more on that, next week). Which path are they most likely to choose (hint: it’s not going to be the most responsible, logical, easiest path every time)? Highlight those. When you’re done, you’ve got a very strong path to take when you start writing again. You can even get more detailed and creative and highlight the different options according to how they drive your story or what kind of reaction they will have.
I am actually fascinated by this approach to outlining and structuring your story. You can mind map it with flowcharts or different apps to help you stay neat and organized. There are several out there online, check them out.
If you want to try this on a grander scale, do it with your next outline. See if it makes it easier or harder to write.
So when you’re stuck, or even before your stuck, try this method of mapping out your plot. Let me know how it goes!
Happy writing and I’ll see you in #TheWriterCommunity!