As I creep another day closer to the firing of the starting gun on NaNoWriMo 2020 I have been playing within the rules and systematically plotting out my soon-to-be first draft of a novel.

I penned a high level synopsis.

I framed a writing schedule based around a general story structure.

So the next step is dropping in some of the (still-broad) building blocks of the story into that framework.

After rummaging through a small collection of writing guides (and my own experience and memory) I distilled those blocks into five shades.

Synopsis (Blue)

An overview of this part of the story. The elevator pitch to the hypothetical reader. Why is this section worth writing and then reading? What happens and what’s the point?

Characters (Yellow)

Who is participating in this part of the story? Ideally this should be main characters plus other characters that drive the plot.

Stage (Purple)

As in, setting the stage, to build a place where this happens and what props will be on stage to drive the plot forward.

Bridges (Green)

An explanation of how this connects from the previous part and what aspects are crossing the reader into the next part. This follows a simple structure of A causes B and B will lead to C.

Hooks (Orange)

Or more simply, why does the reader care about this section? This isn’t exposition or character feelings or internal growth, but rather something that happens to a character or is caused by a character to give the section meaning and purpose.

The result of this approach is that I have a lot of sketching out of plotlines to do in the next couple days, but as I do I should start to see the story take shape around the work.

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