Thursday, May 31, 2012

Masterclass for Pantsers


What I learnt at Louise Cusack’s Gold Coast Literati Masterclass last week...


Well I can’t share everything, because the very brilliant Louise Cusack has protected her work with copyright. So I suggest you get along to one of her classes/sessions/seminars because she’s an awesome teacher.

The theme of the class was ‘Plotting after the novel is written.’ Yes, a perfect class for pantsers like mwa!
We took a moment to write down our main character’s greatest virtue and worst flaw. Then we wrote down the character’s goal, motivation and conflicts. With these tiny pieces of information, we partnered up (with someone we’d only just met who knew nothing about the novel we’d written) to share our character.  

This exercise sounds easy but proved to be quite difficult. It quickly became obvious that if the motivation isn’t strong and clear, there will be weak plot issues. And by strengthening the goal, motivation and conflicts while working with your character's flaws and virtues - an amazing plot can be achieved. (we hope)

So, I learnt a new technique to tighten up my plot after I’ve written my novel, which suits the pants off this pantser!

Have you tried analysing your characters after you’ve written a story with someone who doesn’t know anything about the story? 

18 comments:

  1. I always have in mind the motivations and conflicts of my characters. And after I finish critiquing somebody's story I also wonder about them. It helps me to hone them and to see things clearly. Most importantly, I like to delve into their complexity.

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  2. Ha! Plotting AFTER the story's written. What a great idea for a class. And perfect for pantsers (not that I am one, but I have pantser elements since I am not a total plotter thoroughbred). I think I need to work on GMC. Yes, I think I've analyzed characters after the fact; my CPs make me rethink them. :)

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  3. What a super idea! Thanks for sharing, Michelle.

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  4. What a great idea. I'm a firm plotter, but I like this trick for tightening up. Sounds like a great master class!

    P.S. You're this week's winner at Ink Dots! Yay :). I've sent your details to Vickie. She should email you soon.

    Blessings
    Dotti :)

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  5. Great idea! I enjoy exercises like this because it always serves to strengthen my story. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I do a rough outline before I start writing, but always tighten the plot during revisions. There is something about living with the characters for a while that gives me deeper insights.

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  7. Never tried analysing a character after I've written a book but then I'm not really a pantser anyway... I plot before I actually start writing although my characters occasionally develop in other directions as I write!

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  8. I'm a plotter, but I can see how this is a great exercise.

    I've had to analyze characters after a draft, either by myself or my CP's provide insight. Even with plotting there can be deficits in characterization.

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  9. Although I'm a plotter I still do a lot of analysing after the first draft is written. My poor hubby hears a lot of it ;)

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  10. It must be challenging to tackle this exercise after you've finished the first draft, but a great way to launch into the revisions. Thanks for sharing this!

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  11. This sounds like a great exercise. I'm a pantser too. I'll have to keep this in mind. Thanks!

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  12. I did something similar in a workshop I took at my local SCBWI conference. It's really helpful, even if you are a big plotter like I am.

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  13. Thank you SO MUCH for the link to the writer's blog. My daughter is devouring the website as we speak!

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  14. Oh, I need this! I'm about to throw my laptop through the window! I'm on the fourth draft of this novel and it's just not behaving. Ah, plotting. It does have a purpose after all.

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  15. I sure have! It really helps me gain clarity.

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  16. It sounds like a really great class! Thanks for dropping by our blog, Michelle :)

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  17. Hi Michelle. Good to hear you're a pantster, too. I tend to start writing knowing how the story will end, and then figurie out lots of ways to torture my characters before they get to that point. Fun! I often throw a situation at them not knowing how they'll resolve it, and discover solutions as I write. It's a real rush when that happens!
    Thanks for sharing that info.
    Jo

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