I've been stalled out at 5 sections for quite a while. What broke the blockheadedness was Writing Guru John's presentation of a method of organizing charters into a wheel. The protagonist is at the hub, and the characters with whom he interacts, are connected to him by spokes. All I had to do was put down three characters, to see how I'd been limiting my vision. Instead of focusing only on the protagonists journey, I could add how the two other characters might interact, as they certainly will, further down the line. From my three character base, I spoked out two more characters, and imagined, with only having loose plot past the first 5 sections, how each of them might interact. For instance Carl (the protagonist) is close with Karen and Oliver, who at the start of the story, don't know each other yet. Tim, Carl's asshole land lord, is certainly going to be at odds with Karen, as she visits Carl here and there. And Oliver and Karen are certainly going to get along. BOOM - ideas for subplots appear effortlessly. And the pressure to know everything about Carl's next step on his journey vanishes.
Above is my dry erase calendar tacked on my back wall. The first column and a half are for measuring out my SIX WEEK schedule. The bottom half of the second column and the bottom contain my Plot Curve. As you can see, Carl is heading for a doozy of a drop-off after the second peak. The right column is my Character Wheel with a list of potential locations and potential delusions for Carl underneath.
My probable characters are:
- Carl - out of work, soon to face eviction, desperately seeking something, bipolar protagonist.
- Karen - Wiccan, possibly OCD, recovering addict with an a very jealous ex-boyfriend. Potential love interest for Carl
- Unnamed very jealous ex-boyfriend; Addict, muscle head tool, with anger management issues. Favorite band is Metallica
- Oliver - possibly schizophrenic, but highly functional pub owner (Oliver's Place). Metaphysical Catholic, writing a novel, close friend of Carl's
- Selene - Mormon, goddess-esque, bipolar, long distance relationship over Internet with Carl
- Tim - Carl's passive aggressive asshole land lord; Carl thinks he's out to get him, and he is
- Unnamed married comically inept new age neighbors of Carl
- Unnamed family of three living below Carl - devoutly religious.
- Unamed lesbian couple neighbors of Carl
- Ariel - eccentric artist who frequents Oliver's Place. Even Carl thinks she is too crazy to be a love interest.
- Unnamed exotic dancer (OK - stripper); not a potential love interest for Carl, but he is too deluded to realize that
- Stoner Mike - cynical pot head who is permanent fixture at Oliver's Place
- Additional Pub Crawlers
SIX WEEKS start tomorrow. Or rather, started 20 minutes ago.