I read quite a bit and there have been some great books out there that keep me interested and engaged. However one of the things I noticed was wrong with bad stories was when things just kept happening to the protagonist, things that were out of their control.
The story was driven almost entirely by outside events, and before long I lost interest. When I saw the south park creators talking about this subject it just made sense.
Consequences of actions
Want a great example of this – The Martian by Andy Weir. After the initial sandstorm almost everything that goes wrong for Mark Watney is caused by his actions and his choices.
It can be summed up as
Mark is on Mars BUT he is stranded SO he tries to grow potatoes for food BUT he does not have enough water SO he tries to make water from rocket fuel ……..
On your first look at the software you’re probably wondering what’s a good starting point. It’s designed to be used how YOU want to use it, so send feedback if you’d like to see something in there.
My personal place to start is the timeline tool, especially when hammering out an basic idea.
The Timeline Tool
I find it really useful to cobble together a simple timeline of the events in the story. This is a standalone tool that I added purely so that when you start a project you can quickly put something together that outlines your story. You can of course completely ignore it if you want 🙂
The Snowflake Tool
I do most of my plotting in the snowflake tool. It’s great for expanding out your story, breaking it down into manageable chunks that allow me to focus on that part specifically.
The Cards Tool
The main editor allows you to fill out the cards from the snowflake tool in more detail, although it’s handy to use the Cards tool by adding scene and character notes in the editor. You can build up a pretty extensive todo list of things to write about
The main editor window is where you can get right down to the real work. You can see the scenes you’ve planned to write, the structure should all be there. Now comes the grind of turning all your best laid plans into a rich detailed novel.