What the heck happens next?


When I start a new story, I basically have the main characters and maybe a few of the secondary characters figured out. I know what the end goal is and what the internal conflict is but that’s about it. Now, I know if I have any plotters reading this, they have just fainted. J

Occasionally my muse bails on me. She heads out to a warm white sand beach to hang out then I’m left going ‘what the heck happens next?’ Since waiting for her to return isn’t really an option, I have developed ‘magic bunnies’ to pull out to help me develop scenes.

The one I’m going to talk about this week, I stumbled across by mistake. Someone gave one of my son’s a box of WarCraft cards. He doesn’t play WarCraft (nor does anyone in my house) so he was going to throw them out but the writer part of me saw pictures and said ‘wait.’

This ‘magic bunny’ can be done at any time – plotters could use it to develop scenes and us pantsers can use when our muse has left us.

I draw three random cards. This has always proved me with enough ‘magic’ to get the words to start following again.  Below is one I did for The Warrior Queen.

A scene with Crenshaw in The Warrior Queen

A scene with Crenshaw in The Warrior Queen

I used the title of the cards (I really did draw them randomly) because they provided a nice outline of events:

Card 1) Sunken Treasure

Card 2) Sudden Reveal

Card 3) The Princess Trapped

As I was brain storming these are some of the questions, I came up with

Card 1)

-What is the treasure? Is it a clue needed to complete the quest? Is it something unexpected that will harm them or help them?

-Who is guarding the ‘treasure’? Was the ‘treasure’ originally stolen? Is an appointed guardian watching over it?

-Will my characters have to steal the ‘treasure’ or will it be given to them with strings attached?

-Where is the ‘treasure’ sunken? A snake pit? Why are my characters going there?


Card 2)

-What does the ‘treasure’ reveal?

-Does it bring an unexpected enemy? Who ‘traps’ a main character (card 3)

-Who are they fighting? Someone else who wants the ‘treasure’


Card 3)

-How long is the character trapped?

– What kind of ‘trap’ is it? Jail? Frozen in ice? Transported to another place?


As I was brain storming these ideas a full scene developed in my mind involving Crenshaw.

I would love to hear about ways you develop scenes, as either a plotter or a pantsers.


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