Kat Cho

How I Plot my books

This post originally appeared in the February 2019 edition of my newsletter Readiculous Musings. You can subscribe for it HERE.

One thing I’ve always liked about how other authors do their newsletters is that they share their writing process! As a fan who is also a writer, this is always super interesting to me.

So I thought I’d share with you all how I plot my books. Here’s the thing. With every book it is significantly different. But I have one method that I’ll do no matter what I’m writing. I utilize Susan Dennard’s “Magical Cookies” method right away. 

“Magical cookies are those scenes or snippets or relationships or feelings that make you want to write a story.”

Now, her post says that magical cookies are a way to help when you have writer’s block. But I use them when I’m first planning out my story. First, I’ll lay out the main plot points of the story: beginning/establishing status quo, inciting incident, MC’s decision to take action, rising action, middle climax, all is lost moment, rallying moment, conclusion. Then I will put in any instances or plot details that I know have to happen in order to complete the external and internal conflict arcs as well as character arcs. Then it’s magical cookie time. I place in any scene or moment or character detail that I KNOW I want to include in the book. These are scenes that I am writing “toward.” It’s kind of like a video game, where there are set points that you want to get to. Those moments where you explain to your mom that you’ll do the dishes once you get to X point. That’s how I feel about these scattered magical cookies. I am writing until I can get to one of those beautiful, chocolate chip covered moments. (I like chocolate chip cookies best, I’m a traditionalist).

What this achieves for me is shorter goals that I can get to instead of being overwhelmed by the idea of writing a WHOLE ENTIRE book. Instead, I just have to write until I get to the angsty almost kiss scene #1, or until I get to the epic battle scene. 

So, if you find that you’re having a hard time outlining but you don’t want to full-on pants, then maybe create magical cookie bullet points for yourself so you can write to a shorter and more attainable goal each time you sit down.

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