It seems there is no shortage of plotting formulas out there. And I think they are AWESOME! Yes you read that right - even a Pantser like me has something to learn when it comes to plot and structure. The simple worksheet from SAVE THE CAT did my latest MS wonders.
Does that mean that's the magic book? The one with all the answers? No. It's a great book - don't get me wrong. But my writing, like yours, like I suspect every author's, is a conglomeration of many variables. The more of these ingredients we add, the better our writing is.
Incorporating bits and pieces from these sources makes me feel like I'm spinning a complex web. But when I stand back to take a look, it's stronger and more elegant than anything I've woven before. Where do I draw information from?
- Books on writing like SAVE THE CAT and ON WRITING
- Books I love like the HUNGER GAMES and HARRY POTTER
- Books I didn't love so much (I have to find out WHY they didn't work right?)
- The blogosphere - that's right! You guys!! So thank you from the bottom of my heart. You inspire me daily.
- Advice from other writers - Do I HAVE to mention Libba Bray's speech again? That I learned to write what scares me?
- Conferences and participation in professional groups - I cannot recommend SCBWI enough here.
- Life experience - Drawing from my own desires, fears, and feelings. Also my background in both theater and psychology lend a unique perspective to my characters. Oh and everyday things from television (E.g., Vampire Diaries) to things my kids say.
- PRACTICE. Yep just plain writing does wonders.
I'm sure I'm missing things here. The point is all of these ingredients combine to make - well - my work. It's something that's uniquely me. Something I hope others will find compelling and meaningful in some way. And it's something I will continue to add to and perfect as I go, much like the guy up in the lefthand corner.