January 19, 2023 – Day 18 of #ADayInMyLife @PTLPerrin 30-Day #Blogging Challenge 2023 @RRBC_org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA

1-19-23, Day 18 In PTL Perrin’s Life

Welcome to day eighteen of A Day In My Life! Happy Thursday!

We had winter just five days ago, with an early morning frost and a breeze from the north keeping the feel-like temps in the icy cold range all day. Floridians who ventured out into the bitter cold wore jackets, gloves, and hats. Those from farther north wore sweaters. Today, we’re back in the upper seventies, low eighties, and all the windows in the house are open to the refreshing breeze. Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE Florida winters?

Something I read in another blogger’s post made me think about how a story grows from an idea to a plot. I regularly met with one writer’s group before Covid, where we would write to prompts. We were given about twenty minutes to write a story about a random photo; or someone would give us a character, an item, and a place. We would have to come up with something coherent and interesting from a mere suggestion in just minutes. I still laugh at some of the wild stories we wrote. How could a seed of an idea grow into an entertaining story in that short a time period?

I believe three questions are all it takes for an idea to become a plot that doesn’t get bogged down, whether in a short story or a novel. Three questions have helped me move my books along, but then I write a blend of sci-fi and fantasy. Would this method of keeping my story moving work with other genres? Why don’t you decide? These three questions work for me.

What If? Here’s were the idea germinates. What if the girl in the photo above comes to this isolated spot with a view when she needs to pull her thoughts together? What if her parents just announced they were moving? What if that boy she likes has started messing with the wrong crowd? What if she’s tired of the busyness of her life and just needs some space to breathe? What if — can run your imagination down any number of rabbit holes.

The next question might nudge the story in a certain direction. Once you know the character, the setting, and the problem (your choice), you need to ask this: What Comes Next?

Since I write what I do, it could take me somewhere like this:

Courtesy of Lothar Dieterich from Pixabay

An eagle snatches the girl from her lookout point and takes her to its aerie, where it drops her into its nest. From there, a young man spots her, rescues her, and takes her to his village. Nice story, but other than the rescue, where would it go from there?

That’s where the next question and the fun begins for me. This question, alternated with “what’s next?” keeps the story moving, no matter how long it is, and adds tension, excitement, color, and growth opportunities. Ready? Here it is.

Courtesy of Peter from Pixabay



What Can Possibly Go Wrong?

The girl wants to go home and figures it must be over the mountains, since the eagle flew her over them when it grabbed her. She leaves the safe village, climbs the mountain, only to discover she’s in a different world. Where is the boy who rescued her? Is he inside the city? Did he lose her? Will he find the eagle and will they rescue her together? It’s time to go back to asking, “what comes next?”

I haven’t written a story like this one. There’s no copyright, so it’s fair game if you can flesh it out and make it yours. Not so with my real stories. They are copyrighted, which may be the subject of another post. Stay tuned!

How about you? Do you have a method that keeps your story moving forward? I’d love to know!

Here’s my to-do list for today:

  1. Write my daily blog. (Check!)
  2. Read the blogs of everyone participating in this challenge and comment. (daily)
  3. Balance our checkbooks. (Hmmmm.)
  4. Put Christmas bins away and start taking down the Christmas tree. (*sob!*)
  5. Spend an hour editing my friend’s book.
  6. Get tax information together for four corporations. (Must do by this time next week!)
  7. Make dinner and watch a movie with Bill before turning in for the night.

Courtesy of Gerd Altman from Pixabay

Thank you for reading my blog today, and please visit my friends and fellow RRBC Bloggers at  https://ravereviewsbookclub.wordpress.com/rrbc-member-chat/

Blessings!

Patty Perrin (writing as P.T.L. Perrin)

https://www.ptlperrin.org

13 thoughts on “January 19, 2023 – Day 18 of #ADayInMyLife @PTLPerrin 30-Day #Blogging Challenge 2023 @RRBC_org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA

  1. Those are the perfect questions to ask when writing a story. ‘What can possibly go wrong’ is one I love to use. I whack my characters over their heads, dunk them into boiling water, and run them over with a truck if they’re lucky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why, Susanne! I didn’t know you had it in you! LOL! In some genres, those scenarios are expected. Characters change and grow through rough scenes, if they survive. It’s my favorite question, too. I have a mug that says, “Don’t annoy the writer. She might put you in a book and kill you.” Yep.

      Blessings,
      Patty

      Like

    • Thanks, Jan! I love writing prompts when I have time to play with them. They’re a great writing exercise, and can be a lot of fun to do! These questions have helped get me out of the writer’s block bog.

      Blessings,
      Patty

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patty, these are terrific questions! I use the “what if” one, which I was introduced to in Stephen King’s book on writing. But the other two are good ones to use to stay on track (or not, which often leads to the best stories). Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Maura Beth! The last question is my favorite. What’s a story without conflict? When my plot gets to a point where everything is going smoothly, I know it’s time to ask what can possibly go wrong. If all the threads are tied together at that point, it may be time to finish the story.

      Blessings!
      Patty

      Like

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