Chris Donner, Mystery Writer has come up with a very interesting challenge, and one that comes at a perfect time for me. If you follow the link above, you can read more at Chris’ blog. This is what she says:
Plots! Where do they come from? How do you come up with them? That’s what I wanted to know before I became a writer. In fact, the idea of coming up with plots was the single most thing that prevented me from writing. Words, character development, description, dialogue… all of that I can do. But how do you come up with a plot?
Now that I’ve done a few of them, it seems simple, but at the beginning it was daunting. Hallie Ephron’s “Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel” has some great pointers. The place to start, though, is to open yourself up to possibility. Here’s a little exercise for you… I’ll give you a topic and you write as many plot ideas as you can come up with.
Chris’ challenge is the first truly literary challenge in which I have participated, and I welcome the opportunity to learn some ways of selecting good plot lines. The prompt is:
Pat knew this day would come.
- Pat is a man with long-term Type I diabetes. He is told that he must go on kidney dialysis. Pat knew this day would come, but he had hoped to have a little more time. And right now — he was about halfway through the intricate plan to steal the strategy for building the machine, and if he couldn’t finish, he’d be having dialysis in the jail hospital.
- Pat knew this day would come, when the direction of her whole life depended on the unopened envelope in her hand. It was from UCLA, where she had applied for a scholarship to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in their very famous, very exclusive UCLA school of Theater, Film, and Television. And she wanted to be in Los Angeles, to investigate her brother’s inexplicable death from poison.
- As Pat packed his clothes, he thought about why he was leaving the church. He loved the people, and the town, but from the very beginning, Pat knew this day would come. There was just something spooky about this place — especially in the last few weeks, as first one, and then three other members of the congregation had died of some kind of virus the doctors couldn’t identify. He had to get out of here, before the investigations started.
- Pat could feel the butterflies in her stomach. Actually, they seemed more like tennis balls being knocked into the sides of her stomach by some great athlete. Pat knew this day would come, but she didn’t anticipate the entire Luigi family in the courtroom. As she walked toward the witness chair, she saw Tammy Luigi sitting with her lawyers. And even though Pat hated to testify against her best friend, it would have been easier if Tammy wasn’t the youngest daughter of the biggest Mafia boss in New York.