Writing Tip Wednesday: Writing in code

As a web developer, I tend to think in code logic when writing. It’s a lot simpler than you might think:

If this happens, do A. But if this does not happen, do B. 

Writing involves a lot of this type of thinking in order to produce a story without plot holes or inconsistencies. From a reader’s perspective, plot holes, inconsistent characters, and poorly executed plot escalation can leave you feeling disappointed, annoyed. or even make you ditch the story completely.

Thinking and planning a story out using this logic-based exercise will help you:

  • think through all the possible scenarios that are within the realm of your story’s world,
  • keep your characters from making uncharacteristic decisions, and
  • plan escalating plot points on a large and small scale.

For example, I am currently thinking through how my antagonist, Xander, should proceed. Xander needs a promotion in order to gain access to top-secret information. He is eligible for promotion and a position is about to open up that will give him the access he needs, but the protagonist, Lana, is also being considered for the position.

With that scenario in mind, now I have to think through Xander’s options and what is within his character’s realm of reasonable actions. Xander is desperate to prove himself and knows the promotion is vital to gaining the top-secret information he desperately needs. Would he kill for it? Definitely.

So what are Xander’s options?

  • Plan A: Xander gets the promotion. Xander gets the top-secret information.
  • Plan B: Lana gets the promotion. As runner-up, Xander can try to kill her to get the promotion. Xander gets the top-secret information.
  • Plan C: Lana gets the promotion. Xander’s plan to kill Lana fails. Xander can try to coerce her or trick her into giving him the top secret information. Xander gets the top-secret information.

Believe it or not, this could be turned into a logical code sequence, like the one featured below.

2016-06-19_1349

How do you plan a story?

 

Ode to the Lobster (I ate for dinner)

Just for fun, enjoy this poem I dedicated to this weekend’s dinner. This one goes out to all the seafood lovers as well! #dinnertime

The lobster spoke and told me

No, it came on slow and so

Quiet, then he came out boom-

Ing, clopping his fingers and

Snapping, his thumbs were too slow

Though, and my fingers were swift

Still, he spilt my butter and

Stained my shirt, juiced the lemon

And then pummeled my fork.

Red devil spits his juices piping

Hot, fists grab his pincers twist-

Ing, and wind till his briars pinch

My thumb, his bloody armored joint

Falls, and the lobster wails, my

Arm you pig! I’m less a shell.

He wobbles a bit then falls

Flat, I win, says I with a

Crunch, his shell yields his meat for

Consumption, the butter swells

The crustacean’s muscle lumps

Swell with the juicy perfection.

This ode is to you, my sum-

Mertime ocean grouch and red

Love, though I bless his heart for,

Dinnertime.

Starting over

Hello to all aspiring and accomplished writer and authors out there. I am S. Meadows, and I am here to write, read, share, and learn with you.

My favorite genre to write is dystopian fiction. Authors and their works that inspire me include: Chaos Walking (Patrick Ness), the Red Rising trilogy (Pierce Brown), Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card), The Giver (Lois Lowry), and Wool (Hugh Howey).

What books and authors inspire you to write?

I started attempting to write as an undergraduate in college, during a very snowy, very boring, winter break and ended up writing a 100K + word novel in two months. Needless to see it was awful, but I solicited agents anyway and was beyond excited to get 1 full manuscript request after handfuls of rejections. The full request also ended in a rejection, but the agent called me personally to give me the news and encourage me to continue writing.

For me, failure is motivation. If you fall down, always get back up, otherwise accepting failure and trying again becomes habit. I kept all of my rejection snail mail, emails, and even the old query letters and that first manuscript. Sometimes I read them, because it gives me that spark I felt when I first pursued writing to be published. That spark of excitement and dream of what could be.

So today I am starting over. I used to network with other writes on Blogger, under the pseudonym T.J. Carson: http://tjcarsonsblog.blogspot.com/ and now I am starting a new writing blog on WordPress.

And while this is a big starting over to undertake (i.e., rebuilding connections and making new ones), it is not the only starting over I am referring to…

Getting down to writing business, for a week now I have been starting a new WIP over and over again. Balancing your eagerness to begin something new with creating something of quality is definitely a challenge. I cannot wait for characters and story to whisk me away, but I also need to be aware of my strategy with each word I type.

Where is this going? How will this story line fit in with the other characters? Do I need to create illusions that will set up future plot twists?

It is easy to get lost in the fantasy world and forget about the actual words you are writing, which is why I have started over several times. And I do not want to jinx it, but I think I am starting to find that balance.

What are some struggles you have experienced with starting a new WIP?