Wednesday, May 21, 2014



Be Bold

Not every problem can be resolved in a ten minute writing exercise. However, they surprisingly yield what you need. Be bold when thinking of ideas.
  • Give characters obsessions and then thwart them
  • Add character odd hobbies, collections
  • Throw in violence or loss or passion 
  • Introduce a crazy aunt

Pretzel It

Mix it up and change the sequence of events or do the opposite of what you think should happen.

For example, if the story originally called for the hero to arrive in time to help the heroine, give him car trouble so he doesn’t arrive. Now the danger to the heroine is intensified thus following Donald Maass’s “make it worse” credo. Once she in in an even worse position, challenge her to get out of it alone.

Fake It

If you are missing critical information and that information is not available in any form to the public, get as close as you can and make up the rest. Sharon Wildwood recommends focusing on the drama, the character’s thoughts and actions and the scene comes alive. If the factual data is sketchy, it’s not noticed.

Reset the Gate

In our heads there is a Reticular Activating Gate Filter. It’s the filter allowing only information pertinent to us into our conscious thought. It keeps us from going insane with overload. It’s the reason you don’t see red cars everywhere until you own one. Buying that red car reset your RAGF.

  • Talk to your brain. 
  • Tell it you need new options, new ideas, crazy and exciting solutions. 

Walk(or nap, or wash dishes...) and give the Gate time to swing open and let in new information.

Give Your Brain New Playing Fields

  • Read how-to articles, browse blogs on plotting or positive thinking or any writing topic.
  • Go online. Check for famous love stories or 10 most famous crimes, or the worst accidents ever.
  • Dial into YOUtube and look for for reunions stories, unbelievable stories.
  • Ask "Where else might I find ideas or prompts." And then do it.

Take all information. 
Collect it and put your own twist on it to build your unique story.The good news is that all plot solving methods notify the Gate that you need information to solve your problem. A reticular activating gate open (RAGO) is a tool that yields surprisingly abundant results.

Give yourself ample choices.
Make a long list of possible and impossible ideas. The 7th Solution concept is that the first six things you think of are probably clich├ęd, lame or not appropriate. Dig deep. Go for the gold.

What tools, tricks or methods do you use to enhance you plot building process? 


  1. A great article. I am happy to here some new tips on writing a fast-paced, exciting story.

  2. When I'm stuck I walk. A friend gave me a treadmill and in the winter I walk on that. It's not ideal but there's something about moving my body that seems to unstick my brain. But I have to say I'm going to try some of your options - Thanks