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Confessions as a Writer: Plotting

V. Nicole Dunn

Posted on June 29, 2018 13:48

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I have a confession: I have no idea how to plot my next big story.

Honestly, I've been working on this article for nearly two weeks now. I've been trying to write a TLT once a week about my progress, but nothing ever comes out. The reason is simple: I haven't made any progress with brainstorming, let alone plotting. 

Well, I've already confessed my odd fascination with the end of the world as we know it, and I expressed my frustration about going forward with the project. Not only that, but this week but I decided to stick with it. Those were pretty big and important milestones for the success of this story. 

The beginning of progress this week started with a dream about the story. But, the dream was only so much motivation. I quickly lost steam and spent many hours just staring at the whiteboard where I map out all my ideas. Finally, I gave up on the hope that the whiteboard would fill in by itself. Instead, I focused my effort on doing some research. I've always enjoyed my history and civil war classes growing up, so I went to google.  

Since I knew I was going to write about a possible nuclear war, I figured I should learn about nuclear warheads, ballistic missiles, and how people & the government will respond to an attack of this kind. This kind of basic information led me to the historical side, since much of what we know about nuclear war stems from the initial tests and our attack on Japan in the '40s. I learned more about the Manhattan project, and how that led to Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It all lead to the fallout of the cold war, and the lasting effects on American culture. 

I also did some research on the false ballistic missile warning that was sent to the people of Hawaii earlier this year. Hawaiians didn't know how to react, and many did the worse thing they could have done: ran outside to get a better look. This was so interesting, and I think with more research, I'll be able to create a believable atmosphere in my own story. 

While I was doing research, I was taking notes and ideas for my story started to come to me. I started to learn what kinds of questions I needed to be asking. That lead to answers, and now my white board has more ideas on it than ever before. The story is beginning to take a shape in my head. 
That leaves the greatest thing of all. I'm beginning to daydream about the story. My best stories come out after I've daydreamed about them. The characters begin to have a voice, and their motivations feel like human problems, rather than just the little label I gave them at their conception. 

I think my story is beginning to gain some real momentum, and I'm going to continue doing research to keep it moving. 

 
P.S. Ever since Stephanie Meyer credited a dream for the Twilight series, I hate admitting that dreams help me.  

V. Nicole Dunn

Posted on June 29, 2018 13:48

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Source: Seattle Pi

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