Pimp my Plot, 2020 edition

What is Pimp my Plot?

It’s a brainstorming exercise that’s often a tradition at National Novel Writing Month kickoff parties.

How does it work?

  • Participants needing plot input write their genre and plot dilemma on an index card.
  • The dilemma cards are placed around a table, with a cup next to each.
  • Participants walk around the table, read the dilemma cards, and write their response, solution or ideas on a blank index card and put it in the cup.(Participants don’t have to comment on every single dilemma.)
  • At the end of the exercise, everyone reviews the ideas on the cards in their cup.

The last Pimp my Plot exercise I attended was November 2017, at a NaNoWriMo kickoff party, the year I wrote Invulnerable.

Here’s what my dilemma card said:

Thriller: A young woman is stuck in an assignment with a suspected killer. She can’t get out of it. What surprising source of help do you envision for her?

And the responses:

  • I envision faithful friends
  • Whoever assigned her to it keeps dropping hints, and she suspects they know but they would have the firepower to stop them, so why haven’t they?
  • Something startles the killer in a sudden moment — just in time for escape
  • Bugs in their face, or a cat trips them
  • The suspected killer’s ex-girlfriend
  • A seemingly ordinary person with magical powers
  • She could receive help from a “guardian angel” who could actually be the spirit of one of her ancestors
  • The paper boy, who is new to the neighborhood, comes to the wrong house accidentally

I’ve kept the red Dixie cup with suggestion index cards on my shelf of writing books since then, even though the suggestions didn’t end up being very helpful to my plot.

I’m not sure why I love this exercise so much. It’s very nice to get any input at all on one’s writing. Anonymous input avoids personal conflict and baggage.

This exercise could be done virtually, perhaps by using a Google Form or something. Maybe I’ll look into that for the 2020 NaNoWriMo.

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