Every Monday, MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR focuses on the art and craft of writing, from Shannon’s perspective or that of guest authors. To catch up on all posts, check out the MYSTERY OF CHARACTER FEATURING SHANNON MUIR portion of the website!
This week welcomes a guest post from author Kate Avery Ellison.
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Guest Post from the Author
HOW TO HANDLE PLOT
I have a strategy whenever I am plotting a book.
Always plot the book with the main character as inspiration, or better yet, while in the process of figuring out the main character.
When I begin to write a story, I brainstorm those two things—plot and character—simultaneously. See, the main characters should create the plot, to some extent, because the main character’s choices and actions should drive the story (otherwise they are just boring puppets being manipulated by the author), and different characters make different choices depending on their motivations, fears, and so forth. For example, if you sent Bella Swan to the Hunger Games, she would make different choices than Katniss Everdeen, and you’d have a very different story. The same would be true if you send Hermione Granger to Forks, Washington.
Usually I have an idea of how I want the plot to go before I’ve thought up the characters, and so as I’m developing the plot, I’m asking myself, “What kind of person would make the choices that lead them from the beginning to the end of this story?” And that helps me discover who the story is about. That’s what I mean when I say that plot and character equally inform each other. They’re two strands of yarn woven together to make one string.
Plotting can seem intimidating, but if you approach it from the perspective of “what would this particular character do?” and “how does the protagonist of this book make the story different than if the book starred a different protagonist?,” everything begins to make sense and starts to come together in an organic and logical way.
About the Featured Author and Book
Of Sea and Stone
by Kate Avery Ellison
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: February 2014
Aemi lives in a village carved from stones and surrounded by sea. She wins spear-throwing competitions in disguise and earns slaps from her spoiled mistress by talking back. She hates being a slave. She survives by remembering her mother’s tales of home, a paradise called Perilous.
Aemi intends to find it.
But then, black ships rise from the sea in the night. Aemi is captured and taken to Itlantis, an underwater world of cities and gardens encased in glass, dazzling technology. and a centuries-long war.
She is determined to escape, even if it means conspiring with fellow prisoner Nol, who fills her with equal parts anger and desire. Even if it means impersonating her mistress. Even if it means fleeing into the territory of the Dron, the bloodthirsty barbarians of the deep.
But when Aemi witnesses firsthand an attack by the Dron, she realizes not all is as it seems below the sea.
And Perilous might be closer than she thinks.
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About the Author
I’m the author of the Frost Chronicles, an Amazon bestselling series and source material for the adventure app game Frost by Delight Games, as well as numerous other fantasy and science fiction novels. I love putting a dash of mystery in everything I write, an ode to a childhood spent reading Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes. I can’t resist adding a good twist in the story wherever I can.
I wish I could live in a place where it’s always October, but until that’s possible, I make my home in humid Atlanta with my husband, children, and two spoiled cats.
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