Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Plot Points and Planning for NaNoWriMo

Like last year, I am using a grid to plan my scenes. I am finishing those up early this week. I’ll let them percolate a couple of days and tweak them. Then, early next week, I will print off the scene grids and affix them to 5x8 cards, one scene per card.

I came up, initially, with ten key scenes. From there I built out on either side to create scenes leading up to and leading from the key scenes. I ended up with ~40 planned scenes that way.

Here are the 10 Key Scenes for It’s a Dog’s Life:
1. Kitty and Maudie are walking behind the grocery store when Maudie is distracted by a neighborhood dog friend. While distracted,  a pallet of dog food falls on them and kills Kitty.
2. Kitty can’t accept she is dead, so she becomes a walk-in to the still-live body of Maudie, the dog who resists the effort. They negotiate a sharing arrangement. She teaches Maudie spoken vocabulary.
3. Maudie finally released from vet hospital and Kitty/Maudie come home where Kitty tries to let them know she’s there.
4. Kitty tries to adjust to her new reality: eating dog food, limited communication skills, and watching the family slide into poor eating habits and loose supervision. Worst are the casserole ladies vying for husband Robb’s attention.
5. Waiting at door when Calista her daughter breaks curfew. She breaks up a necking session with a boyfriend Kitty hates.
6. Helps son Brian with homework assignment for science report. She teaches Maudie to read/count.
7. Maudie fed up with sharing and wants her body to herself. Tries to boot Kitty out. Kitty resists because she’d be finally dead.
8. Family starts calling her “Mom” because she involves herself in everything about their lives. She gets peace from that.
9. Dad finally gets a serious girlfriend Kitty grudgingly accepts after Maudie chides her for selfishness.
10. Maudie and Kitty settle into their life but Kitty realizes Maudie is pregnant. A sequel maybe???

Each day of NaNoWriMo, I will type one or two scenes from the cards I made. That way I will complete the novel easily before November 30th.

This year I am adding in two other components. Before I begin each morning, I will read over what I wrote the previous day and do some edits and revisions. This is because I want to have the novel in pretty decent shape by November 30th to enter it into a contest run by One-Book Arizona. Deadline: November 30.

The second piece I am doing that is new this year is when I finish for the day, I will put in italics at the end any questions/thoughts/issues I want to be addressed in upcoming pages. These will be the “hot off the press” issues that I am dealing with in my mind as I write.

These two pieces will serve two functions: 1) they will get me into the novel again pretty quickly, and 2) they will keep me focused on the story so I am not as likely to stray.

Here are some of the early scenes that, as of now, I plan to write the first few days:
Point of scene
What happens
Store back lot near home
Kitty, Maudie, truck driver
mid-morning on a week day
Kill Kitty but not make it too awful (absurd death)
Dog food truck accidentally dumps pallet of dog food on Kitty and Maudie while the dog is checking out a male dog of interest
Store back lot near home
Kitty, Maudie, truck driver, police, paramedics
mid-morning on a week day
Show Kitty as a walk-in soul who will still be part of her family. If she went into one of the other people, she’d be separated from them.
Kitty panics when she realizes she is dead & the dog is gravely injured. She slams her soul into Maudie. The dog resists her but is too weak to fend Kitty off entirely. She hangs onto her body, too.
 Vet hospital
 Kitty/Maudie, Vet, tech, Robb, Brian, Calista
Early afternoon, day of accident
 Kitty isn’t hurt in mind, but she is frantic about how to let the family know she’s alive
Licks family members, whines, as she tries to let them know who she really is; they take it as sweet she knows them; worried about her pains
 Vet hospital
 Tech, Kitty/Maudie
 One week after the accident
Kitty shows her human side
Tech spills coffee and she laps it up while he gets a towel; doesn’t suspect the dog; happens again so tech slips her coffee everyday thinking it’s a weird side effect of anesthesia or the pain

Any comments? Suggestions? Concerns? Please comment below so I can adjust if I need to before writing! Thanks so much for any help you can give!

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