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#FirstDraft Planning Day 11: My Story Compass

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Today’s story-prep was originally supposed to come from Day 11 in the FirstDraft60 process: Ambitions, Inducements, & Entanglements (GMC). However, that was before I attended the meeting of my local RWA chapter and got an even better idea—which is to create a story compass.

Creating a Story Compass
This comes from the presentation “The Writer’s Compass: Plotting for the Directionally Challenged” presented by Terri Osburn at the January 20, 2018, Music City Romance Writers meeting.

Now, because this is someone else’s workshop, I can’t share much of the content beyond what she has on her own website promoting it:

Course Description:

Basic plotting techniques for writers who think “plot” is a four-letter word. Whether you’re just starting your story, or like us, you find yourself marooned and cannot imagine there is any way to get back to port (i.e. the end of your book), have no fear. Finding your way to “The End” of your novel is as easy as whipping out your compass and orientating yourself within your manuscript.

Find NORTH: characters and goals. Your characters and their goals are the most important aspects of the story. They are the story.

Find SOUTH: conflict and irony. Are your conflicts big enough to keep your characters and their goals in sharp focus? Have you injected a bit of irony into your conflict, making your characters do things they’d never do?

Find EAST: love and sexual tension. Love provides conflict for your Conflict since love is never convenient—and neither is sexual tension.

Find WEST: Happily Ever After. Finding a happy ending for your characters is the only cliché that never gets old.

Again, since this isn’t my intellectual property, I blurred out the specific questions that go with each of the compass directions—I just wanted to show how I’ve set this up in my story bible:

How are you doing on your 2018 project goals?


If you’ve never done FirstDraft60 and want to try it, you can see the whole series at the #FirstDraft60 page linked in the header. The tasks do build on each other after the first several days, but you can move them around to best suit your style. Be sure to start with Day 1—Determining Your Commitment and Motivation with Guided Questions.

One Hour of Writing Time per Day
My one hour of writing time is scheduled for each day from 7 PM to 8 PM Central time. I’ll try to remember to send reminders on Twitter, followed by results afterward each day (after all, I do have time for social media scheduled both before and after the writing block).

If you’re playing along at home, you can join me at that time or set your own schedule for when you’ll be writing (or reading, if you’re not a writer!). Be sure to check in below in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook with your results!

One Comment
  1. Sunday, January 21, 2018 6:20 pm

    I’m so happy you found this useful!


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