Come join the madness, and friend me at NaNoWriMo here.
Last year I worked out my plot by starting with a brainstorming (also known as Clustering) session. This year I had my story prompt from a character exercise I did at the recent CYA Writer's Conference (you can see my post about it at Character to Plot Workshop).
Our family workshop (because, yes I make my whole family join in) was to write down our story premise (one sentence that sums up what your story is about), mine was: Psychic paleontologist tries to solve a murder after receiving a vision of the victim's death.
Then we wrote down, as a dot point, just ONE thing that could happen in our story, mine was:
- Dusty finds a body.
Then we passed our notebook around the table and, based on our premise and dot point, each person would add their own dot point of a plot idea that could happen in the story. This would work well with a critique group because you'd get lots of ideas. These are the ones I found in my notebook:
- A dig explosion goes off early, burying a volunteer - was it an accident or something more sinister?
- When Dusty accidentally touches the body she sees the killer has a cute little teddy bear.
- Dusty love jello.
Once we received our books back we went on to write as many plot ideas for our own story as we could. You just write ANYTHING that could happen in the story, small or significant. You do not have to use the suggestions given to you, but you're not allowed to cross them out either. All ideas are there to inspire.
The great thing about this approach is if you get 40 ideas and write out each one as a scene or chapter, you could easily reach your 50,000 words.
In last year's NaNoWriMo our family all included an evil Pomeranian puppy within our story, I look forward to seeing what quirky element or character we can share this year.