The Meat and Potatoes by Casey Wyatt

Woohoo! It’s Friday again. Casey here.

Mmm . . . bacon. Just try me. That whole pan is full of bacon.
Mmm . . . bacon. Just trust me. That whole pan is full of bacon.

Just a quick reminder, I’m participating in The Romance Review’s Sizzling Summer Reads. Not just me, but hundreds of authors, so be sure to check out the fun!

Finally, I’m going to share one of my favorite parts of writing – the meat and potatoes – creating plot points. But first, a recap of what I’ve shared so far:  Initial Premise, Shallow Character Development, and Three Act Plotting.

Now, all these seemingly pointless tasks are going to start coming into focus. Unlike the other parts of the process, which take little time, developing plot points will take effort and more concentration.

Everyone plots differently. I like to use index cards. They’re cheap (.47 cents at Target) and portable. Other methods include Scrivener, Post-its, outlines, keeping it all in your head. I strongly suggest not relying on the sheer power of your mind. For one thing, it’s easy to forget what you were intending to do. Free up the noggin and save your energy for the actual writing process.

If you’ve been wondering or chomping at the bit to start creating, here is the big moment. Brainstorming.

No holds barred. Whatever you want. No Doubt Monster allowed.

Tell the internal critic, editor, and English teacher to shut up.

In this step I jot down ONE (and I mean it!) plot point per card. If I have a scene to go

Find your happy place and let your imagination fly!
Find your happy place and let your imagination fly!

with it, I flip the card over and make a note so I don’t forget later. Keep doing this until you have all the cards filled (at least 25 – 30).

One caution – keep in mind these plot points are all on trial. Right now, they are auditioning for a part in your story. If they don’t fit, be prepared to ruthlessly discard them.

But not yet. For the moment, keep imagining and keep writing those ideas down. Next week, I’ll share how I wrangle them into a manageable plot line.

Where do you go to find your happy place? And what tools do you use for brainstorming?

p.s. Chocolate and wine count as tools.

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8 thoughts on “The Meat and Potatoes by Casey Wyatt”

  1. My favorite part of brainstorming is doing it with my writer buddies and critique partners. Even if I have a general idea of where the story is going, having several sets of “brains” on it helps me to weed out the crap and always seems to spur genius ideas! I really like your method and plan to employ it for my next book, Casey. Thanks so much for sharing your process!

    1. You’re right brainstorming with buddies is a lot of fun too. And I don’t mind sharing my process. I’ve learned so much from everyone for the past few years, it’s the least I can do!

  2. I love brainstorming with my writing partner. She is an amazing storyteller and always inspires me. Casey, thank you for all the advice and suggestions.

  3. I’ve tried index cards a couple of times and I can never really get them to work for me. I haven’t given up completely though because I think forced brevity could be a good exercise for me. :-D Sometimes what I do is just start writing, a big purge that has absolutely no structure. It’s just stream of consciousness.

    1. I use the cards for that exact reason – to force me to slow down and think the plot through. My first instinct is to jump in an start writing. And since that’s never worked to help me complete a novel, I knew I had to do something else. That doesn’t mean I won’t brain dump on the page. I think that has a lot of merit too. I say, do whatever works! :)

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