Plotting, Wikipedia Style

Younger Son was watching something on Netflix the other day, the plot of which I completely lost, so I went on to Wikipedia to read the film’s summary. In doing so, I realised that a Wikipedia style breakdown could work when writing a book.

Let’s look at the original Star Wars film. The story is encapsulated in just five paragraphs which block out the main plot points in broad strokes. The lack of descriptive details or reliance on emotion is pretty much how a synopsis is written, only considerably shorter.

Let’s look at the second paragraph:

The droids are captured by Jawa traders, who sell them to moisture farmers Owen and Beru Lars and their nephew Luke Skywalker. While cleaning R2-D2, Luke accidentally triggers part of a holographic recording of Leia, in which she requests help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. The only Kenobi whom Luke knows is “Old Ben” Kenobi, an elderly hermit. He asks his uncle if he knows anything, but he curtly drops the subject. The next morning, Luke finds R2-D2 missing, and while searching for him, encounters Old Ben. Ben, who reveals his true name to be Obi-Wan, tells Luke of his days as a Jedi Knight, former peacekeepers of the Galactic Republic who derived their power from an energy field called the Force until they were wiped out by the Galactic Empire. Contrary to what his uncle has told him, Luke learns that his father fought alongside Obi-Wan as a Jedi Knight until Vader, a former pupil of Obi-Wan’s, turned to the dark side of the Force and murdered him. Obi-Wan then presents Luke with his father’s old weapon, a blue-bladed lightsaber.

This is almost all of the first act, wrapped up in a few sentences. There’s enough detail to understand the plot, but it skips Luke being attacked by Sandmen and the full recording from Leia. There’s also background information that would, were this a novel, be an info dump. Here it’s framework that allows you to understand what’s going on.

It’s a style that I’m trying with my latest WIP, currently untitled. It’s let me sketch the plot out without worrying about beats or percentages; things that don’t need to be addressed during a rough draft. It also means I can concentrate on individual scenes while not losing sight of the overall story – great for someone who tends to write out of order!

In Due Time Small Majicks Snippet

Welcome Science Fiction Romance Brigade Fans! This is my first snippet in quite some time, and the first from my NaNovel Small Majicks. I’ve skipped an entire scene so I can introduce you all to Wenrys, my hero. *g*

Halfway across the ocean, a storm had risen, and the resulting wind howled through the rigging of a dirigible. Wenrys Gaval gripped the wheel as it strained against his grip, his feet planted wide and sweat slicking his back. Another blast ripped the wood from his hands. The aircraft slew sideways across the snow-filled sky.

Wenrys swore. He wrenched the wheel back, correcting his course. Snow flurried white, blinding his vision. All he had to go on was his compass. He really hoped the setting he’d taken just before the storm hit had been true. Otherwise he’d be in a great deal of trouble. He was already in fairly dire straits. His dirigible was riding the edge of the storm. If it overtook him…

Cold burned around his left wrist as he accessed his limited magic to push the engine harder. The reminder did not improve his mood any. He glowered at the seemingly innocuous bangle and cursed those who’d placed it on him. Their day of reckoning would come in due time. He would be free.

Nano Report – Week 2

So traditionally week 2 is where nano’ers hit a rough spot. The shine of our ideas has dulled, we’re usually getting to the dreaded Middle, and our steam dissipates somewhat.

The start of week 2 this year fell on the American election. The entire world watched and, as the result became clearer, began to celebrate. I was on Discord with my fellow WriYe writers. Even just through text there was a real party spirit. I decided one day wouldn’t make a difference to NaNo, and took it off.

Then woke up on Sunday with a filthy cold. I tried to write. I tried to crochet. My brain felt like cotton wool and I couldn’t keep hold of a single thought. So I went to bed.

Monday, I sat and wrote out a plan. I was going to write until lunch, crochet in the afternoon, then perhaps get more words down after dinner. Then next door’s pups escaped the garden and one went under a van. They don’t have a car, so cue me driving around trying to find a vet. Pup is now fine, but is was hella stressful.

I’d already decided to re-release Tin Cat and had made noises about that. I suppose I was procrastinating somewhat, but I will be going ahead as it’s ready to go. With that distraction mostly out of the way, I’m going to focus on writing.


Coming Soon – TIN CAT

Yesterday I decided I wanted to reanimate my mostly dead writing career, starting with my most popular novella TIN CAT.

Miracle Max from The Princess Bride saying "Mostly dead is slightly alive."

I didn’t have a digital copy of any file. I’m fairly sure that’s an authorial sin of some kind. I’ve plans to get a SSD and, you know, keep doc files and PDFs. But I digress.

Pippa had a copy and emailed it to me. We weren’t sure if there was a DRM on it, but it went through Calibre fine. So I now have a Word doc, cleaned up and almost ready to go. I’ve emailed Champagne – who were the original publishers – about the cover. In the meantime, I found the original stock photo, so I can recreate a similar cover if push comes to shove.

I’m not sure when I’ll be hitting “publish”, but it could be as soon as December.

NaNo Report Week 1

A little late due to the epic weekend, then next door’s dog getting run over yesterday (she survived, but was injured enough to require the vet.)

Small Majicks is currently sat at 16341 words. I still have a fair amount of cards to fill in on Scrivener, so I’m not overly concerned about the dreaded Week 2. Hopefully by the time they’re filled in, the story will have enough momentum to keep me writing.

It’s very tempting to try writing a book, rather than a first draft. I keep reminding myself that it doesn’t need to be perfect at this point. Nor do chapter breaks matter. It just needs to be written.

April Round Up

April was a pretty decent writing month, possibly because I barely left the house. Lockdown has been good for something after all!

WriYe was a bit hit and miss, but I won April Camp, so overall I’m happy. My challenge results:

  • Full Moon 3,632 / 3,000
  • New Moon 1,028 / 900
  • 5K Weekend 1,279 / 5,000
  • WriDay 1,247 / 2,500

At the time of writing Tombs stands at 22,305 / 80,000 words, which doesn’t include the first rough draft I wrote a couple of years old. I’m working my way through that, saving what can be folded in and deleting what can’t. I’m nearly done with Act 1. Acts 2 and 3 both have a couple of scenes in them, because I can’t write in a straight line.

May goals

  • 12,500 overall
  • Full Moon 900
  • WriDay 2,500
  • MerMay 5,000
  • New Moon 900
  • 5K Weekend

Project Writing Shed!

Early 2018 we bought a secondhand shed with the intention of setting up a woodworking business. Late 2018 H had a Stoke and all our plans went poof. Since then, the shed has been sat, gathering oddments and spiders.

This is how it looked just after installation. It’s a wee bit more weathered. But I have a Plan.

I’ve listed the woodworking tools for sale. As soon as the tip is open, I’m going to clear it out and reseal the wood. It needs new roof felt and better poly on the windows, then repainting.

I’m going for a blue exterior and a lemon interior. It’ll be fully insulated and lit by fairy lights. I’m going to get a rug/carpet off-cut on the floor. I’ll probably keep the old desk, though it needs covering somehow. I’ll put in bookshelves and maybe a cosy corner for reading. It’ll be geeky, of course, because this is me. I might frame my celeb photoshoots and put them on the wall. My Prism certificate is definitely going up.

In short, I’m going to create a haven for me to be able to get away from the crazy that’s my every day life, even just for a couple of hours.