WIP Wednesday: Sequels, Plotting, and Save The Cat!



For the past few months I have been attempting to write the second in the Wanderlust series.  I've blogged a bit about it.  I wrote a few chapters of one version, hit a wall, wasn't liking where my characters were going, so I started fresh with a different plot line.  Then I got stuck again.  Grr.  

This is a bit of a new issue for me.  For my first two books, I had moments where I had to stop and rework something  or cut a chapter, but for the most part, I continued to move forward without much issue.  Now I've found myself with a version of writer's block. 

Many writers say that there is no such thing as writer's block--that it's just another label for fear.  Perhaps, that's true.  I definitely have a fear of writing the second story in the series before the first has sold--even though it would be a connected series where each story could stand alone, not sequels per se.  I think this fear is what is smothering the creative part of my brain.  Then, after reading Nathan Bransford's post on sequelitis yesterday, my fear is even further confirmed. 

So about two weeks ago, I put that project on the side and returned to Exposure Therapy.  With this one, however, I decided I was going to tie up my inner pantser and toss her in a closet.  This story has a suspense/mystery element, which requires more intricate planning.  So, I am attempting to *gasp* plot beforehand.  

It's been painful.  My version of plotting so far has consisted of writing about ten notebook pages of bullet points that say--perhaps this happens, then maybe he does this because of this, etc.  I wouldn't so much call it plotting at this point, it's more brainstorming.  But I think I almost have all the pieces I need to get started on a more structured outline.  But what does that look like?

Blogs to the rescue!  I was going through my Google Reader and came across this great post over at The Guide to Literary Agents Blog about the screenwriting book Save the Cat  by Blake Snyder.

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

I thought the information was great, so I googled the book to see if I could find anything else out there on it.  Lo and behold, I found Ciara Stewart's post on Story Structure from Save the Cat! and I think it's just what I needed to help me start my outlining.  She posted Blake Snyder's 15 beat structure for stories using a Nora Robert's book Born In Fire as an example.  Here's the graphic she posted.  (I'm sorry some of it is cut off, nothing I did fixed it.  If you save the image on your computer, you'll get the whole thing.)

(image copied from Ciara Stewart's blog)

I thought this was a terrific summary.  It's originally based on screenwriting, but I think the trends in books these days are very much like movies--quick hook, jump into the action, etc.  So, I'm going to attempt to use this to make a rough plot of my book before I type any of the story.  We'll see how it goes.  Hopefully, it will move along quickly, because I'm ready to write!

*Alright, on a completely different note, thanks to everyone who participated in The Beta Club yesterday.  Your input was awesome.  Remember, there will be another submission tomorrow!  For those of you that participated, how did you find the experience?  Was having my own crit posted helpful or would the comments from others be enough?  Did anyone have trouble opening the scribd document?*

Okay, and for today's questions:  Do you plot?  If so, what structure do you use?  How do you feel about writing sequels before book one has sold?


**Today's Theme Song**

"Move Along" - The All-American Rejects
(player in sidebar--go ahead, take a listen)