How many of your FAP? Probably none since I made up the acronym. It stands for Free Association Plotting.
Maybe you’ve got an idea for a book, but it’s just a general nugget, nothing thought out or planned. Or maybe you’ve written the opening chapter, but aren’t sure where to go from there. I suggest you FAP.
I think this is similar to Mind Mapping. I say “think” since I’ve never learned to Mind Map, but I’ve heard others say they Mind Map. And it sounds rather like FAP.
If you’ve got an idea for a book or you’ve written a scene or two, then you’ve got what you need to FAP. Get a piece of paper, big or small. I’ve used a notepad; I’ve also used a huge bulletin board covered with paper.
In one or two words, write your nugget in the center. I usually start with the protagonist. It might be a concept or a murder or a love interest or a setting. Whatever you have. Circle it.
Now, you start Free Associating. Let your mind go to new ideas. Don’t censor.
Around your centered nugget, jot down the things that come to mind. Characters, both main and secondary. Possible plot points for the book. Changes in setting. Connections between the characters. Action.
You can use different colors of ink to differentiate characters from plot points. Or you can put circles around characters and squares around action points. You choose. Use lines to connect the different characters. Dotted lines to show indirect links or red herrings or layering.
Work quickly. Don’t stare at the paper and think. Let your mind come up with all kinds of ideas. You can filter later.
You don’t have to know how everything will fit together. That’s not the point of this exercise. But the beauty is that as you free associate, you’ll discover that things are indeed fitting together. You can see how it would work.
Now step back and look at the entire FAP you created. I bet you’ll smile.
And if you ever get stuck during the writing of the book, do another FAP just for the area you’re having trouble with.
6 months ago