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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Plot Blogfest

Plot Blogfest

How do you plot your stories?
Today is Scribble and Edit‘s Plotting Blogfest.  I thought I would join in, even though I’m sort of on blog “hiatus” and I’m not much of a plotter.  Even when I do write an outline — as I did with my current WIP — I tend not to follow it. Something happens when the characters get on the page.  They don’t turn out to be the people I expected them to be, and then they won’t do the things I expected them to do.  In the end, I usually follow their lead.
So for today’s post, I’m going share a day in the life of my WIP — any WIP!  This little scene was originally posted back in November (First Drafts = Road Trip from Hell), so my apologies if you’ve read it before.  However, since I am thoroughly engrossed in my newest WIP (currently at 21k), I can adamantly state that the scenario is frighteningly accurate.

Me: (getting into car with a bunch of strangers) Okay, everyone! I realize we don’t know each other very well, but I’m sure we’ll all become good friends as we go. At least we know where we’re headed. (hands paper to the Main Character, riding shotgun.)
Main Character: What’s this?
Me: An outline. Well, a synopsis. More like notes, really. Guidelines. Hang onto them, okay?
Main Character: Sure. No problem. (shoves paper into a crack between the seats)
Me: (pulling out of the driveway) Here we go!
Love Interest: (taps me on the shoulder) What’s with those two in the back? (points a thumb at the third row where two people with blank features sit)
Me: Oh, those are Minor Characters. I don’t know exactly what they do yet, but they’ll develop along the way.
Love Interest: They give me the creeps. Is one of them supposed to be a rival romantic interest?
Me: Maybe. I haven’t decided yet.
Main Character: (pokes me) Turn here. Turn here.
Me: We’re not supposed to turn here.
Main Character: (grabs the wheel) Trust me! Turn here!
Me: Now we’re off course!
Love Interest: I’m hungry. Pull over at that convenience store.
Me: But we only just started! Geez.
(It takes forever for them all to decide what they want, and they keep changing their minds. I go into the store, buy a big bag of junk food, stand in line behind some slow pokes, and finally return to find somebody new in the car.)
Me: Who’s this?
Love Interest: A new character, I think.
Me: (to New Character) Who the heck are you? You’re not in my notes.
New Character: You need me.
Me: For what?
New Character: Not sure, really, but I’m important.
Me: (looking in the car and discovering the Main Character in the driver’s seat) What are you doing?!
Main Character: I’m driving. Get in. (throws the car into drive and I barely make it inside before we peel out of the parking lot)
Me: (hanging onto the dashboard) But you don’t know where you’re going!
Main Character: Let’s face it. Neither did you.
Minor Characters: (rummaging through bag) You didn’t get what we asked for. None of this is right. (throwing Cheetos at my head) You don’t know why we’re in the story, and you didn’t get our orders right.
Me: (to Main Character) Hey! Don’t turn there! We can’t go that way! GPS says the road ends up ahead!
Main Character: You probably need to update your GPS. Relax. We’ll be fine.
Love Interest: (to New Character) Wanna make out?
New Character: You bet!
Me: Hey, you two! Cut it out! That’s not supposed to happen!
Main Character: (turning around to look in the backseat) Hell, yeah! If anybody gets to make out, it ought to be me!
Minor Characters: (pointing straight ahead and shouting around mouthfuls of Fritos) Look out!

(A shocked silence falls over the car.)
Me: We’re in a ditch.
Main Character: Um, yeah. Kind of.
Love Interest: (straightens shirt, looks at me, worried) But you can get us out of here, right?
Me: Oh, now I’m in charge again? Okay, everybody out and PUSH!
(And that’s just the first day …)
So, how about you? Would you tolerate this kind of chaos in your first draft? Or do you have it all plotted out? 😀
Visit other participants in the Plotting Blogfest HERE.

I’m still on official blogging hiatus until May (other than this post), so I’ll see you again on Wednesday, May 2 with the first of three awesome First Impressions!

9 Responses to Plot Blogfest

  1. Aldrea Alien says:

    This so reminds me of my first story, only I’d three MCs all vying for the wheel. And when I was Pantsing my way through the sequel (which, my god, is such a snarl) one of them decided that he required not one, but TWO love interests and demanded there be more on him cause the other two took up over half the story …
    I had to rewrite soooo many times. -_-

  2. T. Drecker says:

    Yep, that sums it up – exactly!

    Love this post 🙂

  3. Jaime Loren says:


    This still makes me laugh! I actually showed this to a friend of mine last month when she gave me a sideways glance for saying my characters make the decisions – not me. (She thought this was hilarious, btw!)

    As you already know, I’m not much of a plotter, either. I think it’s a good thing. Just think – if things surprise the writer, then surely the readers will be surprised, too! 🙂

    And YAY for being 21k words into your WIP! You’ve certainly been busy on your vacation!

  4. Ah I can relate to all that internal dialogue. LOL! Sounds like you need the ‘what if’ plotting scenario to answer all those character’s questions. You write a great scene like a script writer.
    Bless you for joining in my blogfest (though apparently, we’re a day early as it’s only O today…)

  5. Donna Hole says:

    Yep; I’ve written many unnecessary scenes just tofigure out something simple about a plot hole or correct a course that totally obsessed my characters.

    *meddling bunch of know-it-all-characters*


  6. You mean like plot on purpose? As in outlining? No. But I do know where I want the story to go. I just make it up as I go in getting there. But I’m going to a writing conference in a couple of weeks, and one of the master classes I’m taking is for a system of outlining that is easy for pansters to follow.

    I hope anyway.

  7. M Pax says:

    lol I hear you. Sometimes I want a character to be a certain thing, but they refuse. Means a new guide/outline for me.

  8. E. Arroyo says:

    Oh Jeeze, this sound like my family road trip. LOL. Awesome.

  9. Clare says:

    *hehe* That was a fun look at your characters in the first draft. I love it when random new characters appear, I’ve had a few of those in my WiP. 🙂

    Good luck with your current project.