Get your character down the rabbit hole

A good story happens when you get your character down that blasted rabbit hole. The plot is just a vehicle for the characters. When they are dealing with problems, they have to reveal themselves for who they are. Just keep them moving and let them bounce off each other.

Start now. Don’t worry about the past. Flashbacks should set off alarm bells that there is something not quite right with your story. Instead, think of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. By the end of page one Alice is down the rabbit hole.

Outlining Plot Writing

Writing Backwards

In 1842 Charles Dickens, in correspondence with Edgar Allan Poe, noted that when the author William Godwin wrote ‘Caleb Williams’ that he wrote backwards. He started by ‘first involving his hero in a web of difficulties and then casting about for some mode of accounting for what had been done.’ (The Philosophy of Composition 1846)

Likewise, Pierre Boulle who wrote Planet of the Apes as well as The Bridge Over the River Kwai, started by writing the final chapter of his books and then working backwards.

Try writing your story from end to beginning. Start at the end, then ask yourself ‘How did I get here?’ Picture the action and choices that led you to this moment and watch as your story emerges. (This technique also works with individual scenes.)

Emotions Outlining Plot Story-storming

Anger is a Map

Anger tells us we don’t like where we have been. It shows us where our boundaries are. It tells us we can no longer get away with the old life and habits. It tells us we are being reborn.

There is always a consequence to anger. It should never be acted out – but acted upon. It is a conscious reaction to being frustrated. It is your story map.


Write From The End

Sometimes it is just easier to start at the end than it is to start at the beginning. Make a list of all the big moments in your stories and ask yourself ‘How did I get here?’

Then ask ‘What happened just before this?’ and then again, ‘Before this?’ and then again ‘Before this?’ and soon you will find yourself back at the beginning, but with no detours or diversions.  This is a good way of staying on track without getting distracted.