July 19, 2021 - Squirrel!

Monday, July 19, 2021

Today was a good day, although it felt like I was hopping from one thing to the next. Which I suppose I was.

I was determined to get back to the Plotto instructions and start building the plot for The Case of the Pirate’s Puzzle. And so I sat at my desk with the sheet of Lesson 2 Exercises and reread the question that I got stuck on last time. This was:

You were asked, in the First Lesson Work Sheet, to select from the Masterplots of the Masterplot Chart, a Masterplot that carried a particular appeal to you.

Well, I’d already searched through the various notebooks that I use for brainstorming a week ago and hadn’t found this, so I went to my hard drive to find the Lesson 1 Exercises. There was nothing about choosing a Masterplot in those. And then I noticed the mention of a “Work Sheet,” which isn’t quite the same as the Exercises.

The instruction manual was meant to be used with a class, since a lot of people had problems understanding how to use this method of plotting. Unfortunately, the remaining copy of the instruction manual doesn’t include the worksheets. So I hadn’t missed anything. The assignment had missed me.

I suppose I have to describe what a Masterplot is now. This is going to be a very brief explanation, so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t make a lot of sense to you. A Masterplot is made up of an A Clause, a B Clause, and a C Clause.

The A Clause describes a person, usually your protagonist. These include “a person in love,” “a lawless person,” etc. Just so the bases are covered, there’s “any person” in case you come up with someone the author of the system didn’t think of.

The B Clause is a goal or complicating circumstance. Examples are “falling into misfortune through the wiles of a crafty schemer,” “seeking retaliation for a grievous wrong that is either real or imagined,” “seeking secretly to preserve another from danger,” etc.

The C Clause is the result of the first two. This is a relatively short list, including things such as “emerges happily from a serious entanglement,” “achieves a spiritual victory,” “discovers the folly of trying to appear otherwise than one is in reality,” etc. More of a moral of the tale from the ones I chose.

You can see that I was taken right back to where I was almost a week ago. I needed to know my characters better. Fortunately, my subconscious (or my muse, whichever you prefer) had been working on this while I did other things over the weekend. As I thought about the little bits and pieces I had so far, it dawned on me that the victim wasn’t who I thought it was, but a totally new character. And the killer wasn’t who I thought it was, either. This was also a new character, but one based on a real person I’d been reading about. And, best yet, I knew what the inciting incident was!

Meanwhile, since I’ve been reading yet another book on how to write a cozy mystery, another part of my brain was mulling over the other series I want to start writing this year. So in between thinking about the Shipwreck Point characters, I started getting ideas for the characters in the other series as well. And filling in the backstory as to why these people in this setting.

Anyway, I was doing quite well until I realized it was almost lunchtime and I needed to go to the grocery store. I’m hoping to pick up my plotting tomorrow.

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A Clash of Kings
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