Crockpot Plotting (or: NaNoWriMo Metaphors)

I had a blast at Saturday’s NaNoWriMo Plot-In and there are now many pages of colored marker madness and ‘ah-HA!’ moments surrounding this year’s novel. I have the central themes down, the motivating actions for all the major players, and a very rough outline of the first three acts.

I figure I’ll hold off on Act 4 until I have some idea of how this is going to resolve… *pokes story*

Which means it’s time for some good old crockpot plotting (aka: Cover and cook at low for a few days).

The Meat

Mmm... Meats!

The primary thing that I need to get into the crockpot is the meat of the story.

This is the basic summary and the underlying themes, basically what the story is ‘about.’ I was able to hash this out on Saturday, coming up with a central theme and tagline as well as themes and summaries broken down into the smaller plotlines.

It also serves as a quick elevator pitch for when someone asks me ‘what are you writing about this year?’

Now that I know the basic shape of the world and the motivations of the different groups, I know what the raw feel of the story is—all that’s left is to let it sit and cook through…

The Veggies

Yay, Veggies!

The veggies are the yummy bits of subplot and starchy worldbuilding chunks. Not as important as the meat in terms of getting the story out onto the page, but very important in terms of making things into a proper meal!

I toss these into the pot as I think of them, something that gets easier the longer I’ve been letting things stew. These are bits that serve as side items when things are said and done, so many of them are going to get left behind when it comes to plating.

For now they help add some bulk to the story, and to the wordcount.

Note: They are also good for fixing any spicing problems you may run into (see below).

The Spices


These are added as I go, much like the veggies. These are the small tweaks and corrections made to the overall story stew in order to keep things in line with the overall vision of the piece.

Story a bit too sweet? Add some salt to the wounds and make the fictives suffer.

Story too bland? Spice it up with some action or conflict and make your readers reach for the bread.

Too dark or bitter? Well, add some more worldbuilding veggies to help dilute the flavor until everything is bought back into balance. Every flavor is defined by the context, and the better the environment the less jarring elements become.

Dinner Time!

All in the Layout

Come November, if things have been seasoned and simmered enough, I should have the story read to serve. It will still need revising and editing, but hopefully the actual cooking will be done and I can focus in on the plating.

Then I just have to find someone willing to taste test. Hmm…

…Can you tell I’ve been watching too much Food Network? *grin*

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

Leave a Reply