Well, the more I got to know the characters, including an in-depth interview with each of them, the bigger their story became. What once started out as a 5,000 word short story, evolved into a 20,000 word novella and then 30,000 words. From there it grew to a 50,000 category romance but now, it's looking more like an 80,000 word novel.
I believe in theory that I have enough plot and conflict to fill that volume of words but I must consider the plotting and sequencing itself on the basis that each length novel would need a slightly different approach, e.g.:
- a short story may just have a twist at the end or go straight into the happy ever after...
- a novella may have one black moment before the happy ever after...
- a category romance may have a grey moment as well as a black moment before the happy ever after...
- a novel may be a variation of different techniques, which I'll touch upon now...
1. Three act story:
Beginning: open at moment of change/crisis
Middle: the grey moment and fresh hope
End: the black moment, all hopes dashed before the happy ever after
2. A trio of 'big' events - could be kiss, break-up/fight, action, plot device etc, as in:
Page 1 - opening crisis/moment of change
15-20K later - big event #1
15-20K later - big event #2
15-20K later - big event #3
15-20K later - the end
(Source: Sarah Duncan's blog)
3. Eight plot points to make up the story and create more of a rollercoaster ride for the reader (see source for full details rather than my snapshot):
1) Story goal - what does he/she want? For a romance this would be the 'happy ever after' or even the 'happy for now' ending.All of these methods have their merit and would be individual to each writer, and presumably to each story too, come to think of it.
2) Consequence - what will happen if he/she fails?
3) Requirements - what must he/she do/accomplish to reach goal?
4) Forewarnings - what happens that hint at failure? In a romance, this would be the grey/black moments
5) Costs - what must he/she sacrifice/go through?
6) Dividends - what are the benefits of striving to reach goal?
7) Pre-requisites - what actions must take place to meet requirements?
8) Preconditions - what obstacles are in the way? In a romance, this would be the conflict
(Source: How To Write A Book Now)
To be honest, I will probably be a bit of all of them, crossing over a lot, depending on the story I am writing and which one fits best. All of these approaches will add depth and structure to my story though and help me to ensure that I have enough knowledge of the characters and of their conflict to generate a full well-rounded story around them.
I am sure there are many other 'recommended' ways of creating a plot, so, fellow writers, it's over to you...
Do you have a particular plot system that you follow? Have you tried various methods and finally found one that suits you? Or do you just make it up as you go?