WRITERLY WEDNESDAY: Pandora’s Box of Plotting Prep

a.k.a. Prompt Submission Update #1

It’s been an interesting week, so far. Having a shiny new story idea is both a blessing and a curse. I started with a one teeny tiny lil’ magic bean and it didn’t take long for that to sprout and shoot up to the clouds where I’m now dodging the footfalls of giants as I navigate where this idea will take me.

It began with an idea for the impact x SKYDANCE Premium Drama prompt that quickly evolved into so many scenarios that took twists and turns I hadn’t even considered. All of this because I kept asking questions and raising the stakes for my main character. I posed such questions to some of my writing groups and got some amazing results. It also led me to a writing community that specializes in medical guidance for more accurate depictions in fiction.

You know how people often joke about their internet search history? It’s even become a meme where the punch line is something like “It’s for a book. Honest.” or “Having to explain you’re a writer when someone sees your search history.” I have to say, once you go into a deep dive to develop a story idea, having the world at your fingertips is also a blessing and a curse. Before the majority of the world was blessed with wifi and access to the interwebs, research, as a whole, was a more cumbersome ordeal. Don’t get me wrong, back in the day, the tactile experience of digging through books and microfiche to do research really put me in ‘detective mode’ and got the creative juices flowing. However, sometimes, research was stalled because I had to return the books to the library or someone else had already checked out the book I needed. Then, I’d have to lug home half a dozen or more books–which, I guess counted as my workout for the day, right?

I will always love libraries and bookstores. However, there are so many advantages to researching in the digital world. The obvious and most important one for a writer is the speed at which we can acquire the information. No more rifling through indices or cross-referencing multiple sources. Now, search engines do the heavy lifting and we find what we’re looking for much faster. Another bonus is not having to worry about storage space, even though, one day, my dream house will have a most spectacular library in it. Currently, surface area comes at a premium, so I need to be selective with what I have in such a confined space.

Back to speed of knowledge acquisition. I’ve spent the last several days learning a plethora of information including but not limited to body decomposition, how many minutes after a lack of oxygen until brain death, along with a handy infographic of gunshot wound diameters upon entry and exit–and these weren’t even for questions I asked about my own WIP! This is where the curse part comes in after the blessing. It seems that answering one question leads to another, reading about other writers’ questions leads to further story ideas and more questions about those potential plot points. It’s a deliciously vicious cycle.

So far, this has been a fruitful information expedition. I should keep all the newfound knowledge in a reserve file, as I’ve stumbled upon a treasure trove. However, I need to stay on track because I only have a few weeks to submit this fully-formed story idea–times two because there’s the Grounded, Elevated Sci-Fi prompt I’m also working on. There’s still a lot more to be done but I’m hoping by the next update, I’ll have everything plotted out. While, they’re only asking for the story idea, I’d like to have drafted the pilot episodes and maybe one or two episodes after those within the next few months. It’s good practice and I’m excited for where these story ideas and questions will take me next. Thanks, Pandora.

Stay creative, stay weird, be kind to yourself and others.

Until next time,

T out.