Plot Hook Day

We're at another Plot Hook day, and since we're fleshing out the rest of the storytelling at this point, today's a good day to sit down and finish (or start) your plot outline. This should be a basic listing of chapters or scenes and what you generally want to have happen in them.

If you don't have a plot, that's fine. At the very least, though, perhaps you have a question? A conflict that keeps resurfacing in your novel preparation? No? Go back to your previous plot hook lists from last week and the week before. What do you see? Do certain conflicts keep coming up? At the most basic level, what do you see as the primary conflict, the #1 question you have to answer in your novel?

For example, in my novel this year, there are several plot hooks that keep coming up. Volcanic and seismic activity are going to play a large role in my novel, as will the family structures of cultures which are hatched, not born, and which may or may not consider fellow clutch-mates to be important members of ther family. Most importantly, though, I keep coming back to the basic dynamic between predatory dinosaurs and everyone else.

The question of "who will eat whom" is so central to my other-wise complex plot, that I know that answering it is the purpose of my novel. If I cannot, at the end of the book, tell you what happens to the hunter/non-hunter relationships, then I've failed as an author, and my book has failed, too. Ultimately, that's the question I keep asking.


So, what question are you asking in your novel? Are you setting up a conflict between a Big Bad Guy and your Hero? Perhaps your question is as simple as "who will win?" Have you established a man-against-society conflict, in which your Hero struggles against the restrictions of his oppressive futuristic dystopia (a la 1984)?

If you really have no plot, and all you have is a string of plot hooks that I asked you to write, go ahead and write down the ones you want to use, and put them in their most logical order. When it comes time to actually write the novel, you can skip from plot hook to plot hook, and your story will be less like a single narrative and more like a collection of moments from your characters' lives. This is okay, too-- many novels work best as a series of interrelated adventures (and it's within the NaNo guidelines, too!)