Monday, March 29, 2010

Blog Tour: Angela Morrison's Plotting Secret

Hi guys, welcome to Angela Morrison's last stop for her Sing Me To Sleep Blog Tour! Today there won't be an interview. There won't be an excerpt. But there will be a guest post about plotting. I hope this helps all the aspiring writers out there.

Precious asked me to share my secrets for a good, fast moving plot. TRUE CONFESSION: a great editor. My editor for both SING ME TO SLEEP and TAKEN BY STORM was Lexa Hillyer (she's started a new company called Paper Lanterns, Inc. that sounds really exciting). I learned so much from her about pace and plotting.

She taught me that in romantic stories, especially, it is key for the characters to have at least one huge secret between them--and you can't divulge the big secret halfway through. You have to build up to it. Surprises are good, too.

I'm a seat of your pants plotter. Not a planner by nature. I ask myself, "What if?" to discover my characters. The characters I gravitate to are always wounded or vitally flawed in some way. Once I've got the voice of a character, I move on to, "What happens next?" Simple stuff, but it works. The key is to make things worse and worse for your character. Build in conflict every chance you get. Let your character make the wrong choices.

When I've got the guy and the girl and their basic situations figured out, I put them together and scribble down what happens. I do that again and again.

As I get deeper and deeper into the story and the character's open up more and more, they will haunt me as I go to sleep, wake me up in the middle of the night arguing, or be there in a scene on the edge of a dream in the morning as I wake. I scribble down what they say and build scenes and chapters out of those conversations.

Now that I'm writing full-time and publishing, I've got stories lined up waiting to be written, so I end up thinking about what happens and scribbling conversations for years before I get to write them. That time investment helps a lot when it comes to writing the novel, but the characters will still surprise me.

I don't think in terms of PLOT or I choke. I think in terms of the journey each character is one. I build in tests and pitfalls, let them fail and try again, send mentors and side kicks, but rely mostly on an overpowering love for each other.

I highly recommend Vogler's THE WRITER'S JOURNEY to all writers. He breaks down the journey archetype scene by scene. It's a great tool. Study it.

Take care!

Thanks Angela for taking your time to share!

To those who haven't read any of Angela's books...You're missing half of your life. Both of her novels are heartbreakingly romantic. You won't ever regret reading them!

You can read my reviews of her two novels here:

Taken by Storm Review
Sing Me To Sleep Review

Sing Me To Sleep is a story about Beth, an ugly duckling who has a very beautiful singing voice. In a singing competition in Switzerland, she meets Derek, the soloist of Amabile Boys. She knows she's falling. But can Derek possibly fall for her?


  1. Awesome post! I've always been curious about plotting and the author's writing process.

  2. Thanks so much for having me today, Precious--you angel. If any of your readers have specific questions, I'd be happy to respond. I'll check back throughout the day. Have a great one!

  3. My stuff always ends up being more character driven than plot driven and I like it that way..but, sheesh, I hate writer's block. It makes me drive myself up the wall!

    Great post, Angela! Now that you've spilled your secret, I'll go try it out :P

    Good work, Precious.